Some resources have been developed to explore the different ways of thinking about ideas. These “thinking objects” are designed to be used to support reflection on the shift in thinking to help people understand and apply the ‘big ideas’ in practice.
What we teach in schools
Moving towards C21st learning requires a shift in our thinking, but this does not mean rejecting everything that schools already do. Rather it means changing the focus on what we do in school. Forming positive learning identities, building learning power and developing the competencies needed to participate successfully in C21st society become as important as developing subject knowledge. The emphasis moves from having knowledge to using knowledge.
“This is School”, an original play from the 2009 Shifting Thinking Conference
You can find the script for this play written by Rachel Bolstad here
|Video recording of the Play performed at Shifting Thinking 2009|
The inspiration for the play came from ongoing discussions as we struggled with the complexities of imagining and choreographing a 21st century learning experience …. later I took this idea in a new direction and was inspired to write a play-within-a-play featuring an imagined cast of players. The play shows the difficulties of trying to “direct and stage manage” something when everyone is taking an active role in trying to build ideas collectively and collaboratively – but it also shows that wonderful things are possible once we begin questioning our assumptions and start thinking together about how these could be different.
The New Zealand Curriculum (2007) identifies five key competencies – thinking, managing self, using language, symbols, and text, relating to others, and participating and contributing – which are intended to integrate the skills, knowledge, attitudes, and values all students need across subject areas, and in life. Some argue that the most important thing the key competencies can do is to help us to rethink what and how we teach, and what is important to learn. This thinking object is drawn from an NZCER resource designed to kickstart conversations about the key competency of participating and contributing. Please read the blogposting about this resource first!
Thinking object: On the subject of participating and contributing- a scenario card
The context and purpose of subject knowledge are changing in fundamental ways. This section aims to help practitioners see subject knowledge through a 21st century lens.
Moving traditional science to a 21st century learning framework
In science, students develop an understanding of the world based on current scientific theories, and learn about science itself. The way science is traditionally taught is not very useful for solving “real life” problems. Changing the focus of science teaching could be an initial step towards 21st century learning.
Between the present and the future, the 20th and the 21st century, there is The Shift from here to there. How do we lay planks across the chasm from where we are to where we want to be next? Perhaps to make a change, we have to understand change itself.
Thinking objects: Change and Growth
What kinds of shifts in thinking in education are required to support learning that is relevant and meaningful today? Shifting literacies is about the teaching and learning of literacy in the 21st century: our relationship to literature and literary theory in a rapidly changing world. By addressing shifts in thinking in a more informal and personal manner (through blogs and thinking objects) we hope to create a forum for ideas and dialogues between learners, educators and researchers which will translate into new practices in learning.
Read The Good, the Bad, and the Ambiguous for background information before using the thinking object: How much is Cinderella’s father to blame for her situation?
Read Malice is in the Eye of the Beholder for background information before using the thinking objects: How malicious is Cinderella’s Stepfamily? and How much is Cinderella to blame for the bad situation she finds herself in?