Friday, July 31, 2015

Learning at the intersection of K-12, ASEAN, 21st Century Literacy

Learning at the intersection of K-12, ASEAN, 21st Century Literacy

As I have been in the habit of doing,  part of my personal and professional development takes me    to trawling  the Internet with words containing  pertinent key phrases, say for any given article.
Now hoping to get to a relevant reference material with the least common denominator, my trusty search engine returned, among other things, a  slide presentation containing the keywords.
In it one could read a  March 2015 reference to a summit on 21st Century Learning which took place in Washington D.C.  It also contains a discussion led by Heather Loewecke, of Asia Society tackling  “Developing 21st Century Skills through Competency‐Based Expanded Learning Opportunities”.

After reading it, I recognized a substantial collection of  jargon that contains references to K-12, 21st century literacies. There was no mention of ASEAN. I took the Asia Society as close reference to it.

So how does one cut through the jargon? Using a textual analysis tool, I assembled the presentation content  and created a word cloud. The keywords are aggregated  below:

Read the main  document contents of  the slide deck here:

Given that word cloud, the following are the author’s recommendations for the framework about Expanded Learning Opportunities:

  • The model requires a strong commitment and buy-in from school leadership, teachers and after-school staff so that structures are put in place to support implementation and sustainability.  

  • Projects must be student driven and teachers must have on-going support to ensure their commitment and active participation.  

  • Educators must be able to successfully integrate course, after-school, and global competencies and rubrics in order to assess students with a high level of fidelity and quality and to ensure implementation consistency across teachers and/or schools within districts.  

  • Schools and after-school programs should create multiple pathways and hybrid models that offer flexibility and varying levels of credit for students’ differing needs.  

  • This model should promote school-wide conversations about student voice and how to support student-centered learning across the school and the learning day.

These recommendations, albeit within an American setting, raises a familiar almost universal clarion call to formal and informal learning  in a globally networked  environment.

So in the context of the emerging ASEAN integration in the education sector, some things on my wishlist emerge:

  1. More training to teachers who should be inspired to become specialists themselves, not only from a subject matter expert’s perspective, but from a change-maker teachpreneur/mentor lens, which draws from their particular interests, passions, and drive.
  2. Translocal outlook,   a habit of mind that  leverages the power of networked computers, such as the Internet. This refers to  a mentoring/coaching mindset, which aims to provide  good models of behavior for young learners and the larger community. It is hoped that this will help fill the leadership deficits, especially within the local setting of the learners.
  3. Expanded bachelor of education offering in  more degree-granting institutions. As more people get into broader awareness of the possibility of gaining professional qualifications with the use of digital tools via open and distance education, this is a career that should be promoted more vigorously far and wide among Filipinos.
  4. Partnership mechanism to make student learning outcomes more coherent and sustainable.

Given those ideas, the word sustainable means subjects, now called specializations, should incorporate what one of my mentors, Fr. Benigno Beltran,  calls a convergent learning, which folds critical, system, and design thinking into a what I would like to call deeply meaningful education -- from a perspective of a lifelong learner.

Thus  there should be co-creative intent to make learning especially for those entering the Senior High School of K-12, move  the learning boundaries into the day-to-day realm, particularly within a socio-economic plane.

I am  imagining a sweet blend of local government, community, civil society, and informal collectives taking part in collaborative projects of helping create jobs that are useful in the particular geographic context of  learners.

This wish list need not wait for 2016. It’s not easy, but doable. And the first step doesn’t have to be taken by government.

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