The 21st Century Learner
The first advice about teaching I ever received was “Get to know your learner.” This piece of advice has stuck with me over the years and has proved time and time and time again to be a key component in running a successful art classroom. We must analyze the learners of the 21st century. This has been a hot topic in education recently and understandably so. Our times are changing and therefore our students are changing as well.
This new role of the student matched with the new role of the educator sets up a forum for research. The 2012 NAEA conference focused on the melding of theory and practice. This idea should become the theme for the 21st century classroom. Our students have unprecedented access to information that they can digest at the level they are at. If we allow our students to be researchers in our classroom they will bring to the table information they have found and are interested in learning and analyzing. In a presentation given at the Maryland Institute College of Art during the NAEA student chapter annual conference keynote speaker Dan Barney discussed a unit he did with his students concerning dress. As the educator he did not give them a specific prompt, but allowed them to research the topic and delve into an area that they found meaningful.
At Baltimore City Neighbors Charter School middle school students participate in a year-long research study. Students from the school are able to choose any topic they would like from sports to peanuts. The principal there talked about a student who did a project on cheese. It, however, is not the topic that is important it is the skills these students are developing that will prepare them for the world they are living in. The P21 partnership has developed a skills map for the 21st century learner that outlines the types of skills students will need to enter into the current workforce. This skills map highlights the need for a melding of 21st century skills and themes into core curriculum. The partnership advocates for the necessity to teach life and career skills, Information, Media, and Technology Skills, Learning and Innovation Skills, and assess 21st century themes along with the core content areas.
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2. Gude, Olivia. "http://www.uic.edu/classes/ad/ad382/sites/AEA/AEA_01/AAEA01a.html." UIC Spiral Art Education. Falmer Press, New York, NY., 2000. Web. 25 Apr 2012. <http://www.uic.edu/classes/ad/ad382/>.
3. "21st Century Skills Map." . National Art Education Association, April 15 2010. Web. 25 Apr 2012. <http://www.arteducators.org/research/21st-century-skills-arts-map>.
4. Moore, Leslie. "Testimony by Leslie Moore for Arts Map." 21st Century Skills Map. (2010): 1. Web. 25 Apr. 2012. <http://www.arteducators.org/research/Testimony_by_Leslie_Moore_for_Arts_Map_Release_July_2010.pdf>.