Educators owning change . . .
Educators, school leaders, and those who provide pre-service and in-service support for them know that "21st century" or "digital age" children bring new ways of thinking and learning to today's classrooms, and thus present unprecedented challenges for teachers. How do we teach an increasingly diverse population of kids used to multi-tasking who grow ever more impatient with our lecture-centric educational model?
We know that kids need to develop a new set of skills for citizenship and economic and educational opportunity in the 21st century. What does this mean for our curricula, pedagogy, and assessments?
At the same time, we know that state and federal policy makers are intensifying pressures, already begun a decade ago under the No Child Left Behind Act, for educators to be "accountable" and "effective". How do we ensure that the ways in which we evaluate educators and school leaders is sensible -- based on educational practices known to optimize student learning and well-being? Are evaluations based on research about the impact of an affective learning climate on student learning and research on educator retention in the profession? In other words, how can we best evaluate educators in ways that optimize rather than dismiss and demolish morale for students and educators?
Educators, teacher educators and policy makers alike struggle to articulate just what we mean when we use terms like "21st century" educational practice. What does that really mean, and what does it look like?
The convening organizations that came together to support the 1st Annual New Hampshire Summit believe that a sustained, intensive conversation is needed among New Hampshire's educators, educator developers, and policy makers, to define together, in practical terms, just what we in New Hampshire mean when we talk about 21st century pedagogy, assessment, skills, learning environments, and educator development. This conversation grows out of a national invitation summit on these challenges (see www.redefineteachered.org).
New Hampshire is the first state in the nation to undertake a statewide dialogue and educator-led initiative to adapt our professional practices to the challenges of this new millennium. Through the summit and the many efforts by participants to honor pledges to undertake vitally important post-summit initiatives, we will begin to define and realize our shared vision for New Hampshire's children, their educators, and those who lead and prepare them.