What do they REALLY need to know next?

A few stories that fell into my twitter feed this weekend had me thinking about what our students need to know as they move through school.  I don’t think the specific content that a student needs in order to be successful at the next level is really the topic of my concern, the state and district have clear outlines on what needs to be mastered.  My question is one of skill.  What will our students be asked to do with specific content in the next grade, or at the next building they attend, and are we providing them the experiences they need?  How will they be asked to research?  How will they be required to utilize technology?  How self sufficient will they need to be?  Perhaps the biggest question swimming around my head right now is how do we provide them opportunities to master these types of skills while, at the same time, helping them master the specific content?  I wish I had a really great answer to this question, but I don’t.  Whenever I sit down to think about this I keep coming back the idea of exclusionary practices and how dangerous that can be.  I have worked with educators of all shapes and sizes and it seems like the best ones never neglected skills for sake of content. The converse would be true as well, where a teacher gets so wrapped up in developing skills that they fail to help students master the information they need.  I suppose it comes down to a  moderation and experience; we need to be mindful of all the competencies our students need in order to be successful while at the same time drawing on our collective experience to ensure those skills are being leveraged to help students master the content they need to be successful at their next level.  If we don’t attend to both of these aspects, have we really gotten them ready for what’s next?


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