By Maria P. Lentz
Do you know what classrooms will look like in 2030? How will students learn and get an education 20 years from now?
Even in today’s classrooms, teachers are preparing students for jobs and careers that don’t yet exist, so how can we even imagine the education system two decades down the road?
This was the goal of Alberta Education’s newly released report Inspiring Education, an extensive three-year project spearheaded by Education Minister Dave Hancock, that was created to build a vision of education for the future.
The vision is based around the “Three E’s” which are Engaged Thinkers, Ethical Citizens and Entrepreneurial Spirit. Albertans want their youths to be critical thinkers who use technology to learn, create and discover. Just as important, Albertans want students to be fair and respectful, show empathy and compassion and value teamwork and collaboration. Albertans foresee youth creating opportunities for themselves through hard work and perseverance.
The plan has come under some criticism for being a high level report that doesn’t discuss specific details for the future of education. However, it clearly identifies how schools will move away from the “industrial model of education.” The industrial model is one that resembles an assembly line of sorts. Teachers are the major distributors of information of school subjects such as English, social studies, math, science, etc. Students follow a strict order of bells and classes and at the end of each semester or school year, successful students move on to the next level or grade.
Instead of an industrial model, Inspiring Education envisions students learning “anywhere” “anytime” and “at any pace” according to Hancock. Students learn in different ways and while many are successful in the traditional classroom, a large number of students find learning online, in the workplace, in small groups or with more one-on-one interaction better suited to their needs. “Inspiring Education” states the education system will be more focused on the learner and the education that each individual needs.
Inspiring Education cannot achieve its goals without involvement from the public. Parents, businessmen, seniors, representatives of community organizations and government agencies, in addition to county councilors, members of the municipality and school trustees, should all have input into the future education of Alberta’s students. All of us have a stake in 21st Century learning for Alberta’s students.
This column gives you a brief idea of what the report focuses on. To read it in its entirety, please visit www.inspiringeducation.alberta.ca
Maria P. Lentz is the Trustee representing Ponoka with the St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic school division as well as the board chair. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.