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Day: March 2, 2019

Education and the Learning Revolution

Education and the Learning Revolution

It sometimes seems to be the case that education in the UK often becomes a bit of a political football – so much so that there is a danger that we lose the essence of what learning is all about.

Many commentators have spoken of the need for not simply educational reform but for educational revolution.

In the 1980’s  the authors  Dryden and Vos made the observation that we were teaching young people to face a future in which they will have to solve problems that we do not know will be problems yet,  with technologies that do not exist yet and undertake roles and jobs which we have no concept of – yet.

A few years ago a presentation called SHIFT HAPPENS highlighted some of the ways in which change is happening exponentially – what we know, what we think we know – what we understand, what we think we understand – is all in a state of flux. In short technological and scientific developments are redefining the skills that we will need to engage fully in our futures.

As technology and scientific discoveries shape and mold our understanding of the world they bring with them new and different moral and ethical questions which will need to be addressed.

The real question is whether or not our current education systems, which Sir Ken Robinson maintains stifles creativity and are really ‘one long university application process’, can meet the challenge of the future.

For the most part education systems are linear, attempting to homogenize learning experiences by creating academic targets that are based upon chronological age and not social-emotional-intellectual readiness. At the same time teachers are being presented with a host of  ‘learning initiatives’ that are often little more than coverings for a crumbling system;  hence they are met with cynicism promoting a real lack of joined-up thinking.

This is not about the teachers and the quality of their work. It is more about the structures within which they are working or are expected to work.

Talk to teachers about teaching and learning and one of their first observations will be about the ‘crowded curriculum’ followed by a disheartening reflection that “admin work” is taking them away from the process of engaging with young people in learning challenges and conversations.

At the start of this academic term I was invited to talk to a group of parents and eager Year 10 students about the ‘fresh start’ they could make on their chosen examination subjects. The focus of my talk was about being emotionally engaged, and therefore, motivated by their own learning.  All went well and my presentation was well received, but perhaps would have been so much more ‘real’ if had not been preceded by a senior member of staff in the school talking about ‘target levels’,  ‘projected’ and ‘expected’ grades and the need to ensure that grades were in need of constant improvement in order to ensure that colleges of further and higher education looked favourably on future applications.…

Ways To Make Your College Application Stand Out

Ways To Make Your College Application Stand Out

Every year, admissions officers are bombarded with standardized applications from a variety of applicants, some qualified and some not so qualified. To really make your application look attractive, you have to have a well-rounded, organized and confident presentation.

Here are five ways to make your college application stand out.

1. Write an original, thought-provoking essay.

Make sure your essay is amazing. Start early. Spend plenty of time brainstorming. Organize and reorganiz your ideas until you have come up with the most logical structure to present your argument. Have a clear thesis statement, and develop your points with supporting evidence. Be original, but be honest. You can highlight your achievements without having to over-embellish them. Just answer the topic completely and be confident in your ability to communicate effectively.

2. Include enthusiastic letters of recommendation.

Your letters of recommendation need to be excellent. You have to choose the right people to write them. Approach a teacher you respect, trust and communicate with frequently. Ask this person (or an employee, counselor or other authority figure) to do this favor for you, and if they hesitate at all, find someone else. You need to know that your letters of recommendation will be wholesale endorsements of your scholastic prowess and academic potential. They must be positive and powerful, so find the right people, and give them time to craft their encouraging endorsement.

3. Have a transcript that you can be proud of.

You need to have a transcript that looks spectacular and challenging. Your GPA has to be solid, and you should be sure that you meet the minimum GPA admission requirements. Your transcript has to be packed with challenging classes and college prep courses. If you get straight A's in less than challenging classes, your GPA will look wonderful, but your schedule will have been average at best. You need to really challenge yourself in high school. Take hard courses and perform excellently, and you'll have a transcript that you can be proud of.

4. Achieve high standardized test scores.

Just like your GPA, most colleges have minimum admission requirements when it comes to your standardized test score. Make sure you have performed well on these exams. Take a test preparation course or hire a tutor to maximize your scores. If you feel like you could've done better, then take the tests again.

5. Show that you have accomplishments outside of the classroom.

Your application needs to prove that you're not just a whiz in the classroom. Show off your interests. Tout your involvement in organized sports, music, clubs, community affairs, volunteer work and church activities. Do not just make a laundry list of responsibilities and associations. Show that you are dedicated to these endeavors. Let the admissions officers see that you are capable of being dependable. …