W2018 GDPI-PME 811-002

W2018 GDPI-PME 811-002 Innovation in Teaching and Learning – Post #4

February 14, 2018

A topic that I have learned in one of the other courses I am taking are the 21st century skills and citizenship.
Part of being a teacher is to incorporate the theme of citizenship into the classrooms. This includes creating a community among the students, encouraging collaboration and raising global awareness.
In addition to these qualities, enhancing creativity and innovation also fulfills citizenship. Creativity and innovation is part of the 21st century skills that leverage citizenship.
In an article I read, entitled “How Can We Teach and Assess Creativity and Innovation in PBL?” author John Larmer states,
“- Design projects to bring out creativity
– Create a culture that promotes creativity and innovation
– Scaffold for creativity and innovation,” (Larmer).
A question that has come to my attention is, in what way is citizenship being crafted in creativity and innovation, specifically in these 3 points?
Another question is, do all teachers really think about citizenship as a relatively important theme when teaching students on a day-to-day basis? Do they often assign projects and assignments solely based on enhancing citizenship in the classroom?
These questions are also for me to ponder within my teaching practice.

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  1. Hello Amanda,
    Thanks for sharing your blog reflection on the readings. I like that you ask the question about connecting both 21st century learning skills and citizenship. I don’t see an explicit connection between the three points and citizenship, but imagine you could apply those three focus questions to create a project that would encourage citizenship. I’m not sure you could consistently do so in math class, but where citizenship and curriculum goals overlap it should be possible to share the focus in this three fold approach.
    To the question about how many teachers think about citizenship in their context, I can’t speak for everyone, but I haven’t before this set of readings. Sure I think it’s important for the class to learn about their country, but I’ve never thought of them as future citizens who need to be trained in effectiveness. I think I’ve observed a few lessons that might have had this goal in mind, but not all of them do.
    I hope this one voice helps you get some idea of how wide spread it is, thanks again for sharing your post.

  2. Hello Amanda,
    I appreciate your questions. They are interesting and intriguing to apply to 21st Century Education. I too wonder if direct teaching of citizenship is happening in schools.
    I teach junior high social studies and I have had a challenge with my students this year. Many of my students did not engage in my classroom. They wanted to know what to read and what questions they needed to answer. They did not want to discuss, challenge each other, or care about others’ opinions. I reflected on the “sounds of crickets” in my classroom when I asked a leading question that no one felt safe to answer.
    How can I teach citizenship when students do not feel safe to answer basic questions about a simple curriculum?
    I asked them about this. Some of their responses were brave, they didn’t want to look dumb, they were afraid to share their opinion, they were worried what other people might think, and they were not sure what it had to do with their education. This made me really consider my expectations for them and of myself. Social studies became something more. I told my students my goals for them – to become more respectful, more kind, and more decent human beings, and to learn a little something about the Renaissance, Japan, and the Aztecs. They laughed at first. Then we got down to work. Students worked in partnerships, did jigsaws, taught their classmates, and presented information they learned. Students were challenged to ask critical questions of each other and to challenge themselves to think outside their beliefs and attitudes to see different perspectives. We are nearing March, and what I see are students who have more awareness, are polite and confident learners, who challenge each other respectfully, and they are no longer afraid to answer a question in class.
    I hope, for all of our students, that this is the kind of education students are getting in the 21st Century Classroom.
    If we are teaching a bunch of students to be fact regurgitators this world is going to be in for quite a challenge when these students rule it.
    What do you do in your classroom to teach citizenship?

    1. Hi Shelley,

      As a non-traditional teacher, I work in various after-school programs and in educational services. I feel like with the opportunities I have, I am able to have some freedom in curriculum development — so I do think about citizenship in the places I teach.

      Creating many collaborative-based projects enforces citizenship in the classroom. Creating a kind of curriculum that enhances citizenship, such as a classroom debate, also brings in citizenship traits into the classroom.

      Thanks for your thoughts 🙂

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