Sunday, September 27, 2009

9 Common Principles for 21st Century Schools

I've been reading and talking about "21st Century Schools" lately and just remembered this post I wrote on a wiki a while ago. It is based on Ted Sizer's Common Principles for the Coalition of Essential Schools. I thought it was worth reviving here.

What do you think? Do you agree with these? Am I missing something? Are these really "21st century" principles or principles for/from all time?

9 Common Principles for
21st Century Schools


1. Build
Community - The school should bring all learners together into a supportive community that nurtures both the individual and the group. The community should permeate all possible spaces, in the classroom, in the home and Online.

2. Encourage Critical Thinking - The school should actively encourage learners to think critically, continually asking the question, "Why do we teach what we teach?"

3. Reward Risk Taking - The school should actively encourage learners to risk failure in the pursuit of understanding.

4. Focus on all Learners - The school should surround the learner with ideas and information, encouraging the learner to pursue a wide variety of paths to knowledge, and supporting the personal growth for all who inhabit the community.

5. Value Diversity - The school should actively encourage and value the input of those both inside and outside the community with a diversity of opinions and experiences. The school should consistently check that it is inclusive and supportive of learners from diverse backgrounds.

6. Nurture all learners - The school should provide opportunities and encouragement for all members of the community including teachers, students and parents to learn and grow.

7. Pursue Innovation - The school should actively explore, pursue and assess new ideas and technologies, while always keeping the learner at the heart of the pursuit.

8. Teach Empathy - The school should actively and explicitly teach learners to think beyond themselves, encouraging students to value kindness and generosity.

9. Break down the walls - The school should provide access and opportunities for learners to reach outside the walls of the school to the neighboring, national and global community.
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