Taking kids off the assembly line

 “Think of our current model of education as an assembly line,” says Dr. Khym Goslin, Assistant Professor of Education, and one of the presenters at UPEI’s 25th Research Breakfast. “They move along the line from Kindergarten to Grade 12 and get a little more general knowledge added as they go.”

Goslin will present his talk, "Instructional Leadership for the 21st Century Changes in Teaching and Schooling," at the Research Breakfast, 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, December 1, in the Georgian Room of the Rodd Charlottetown. (details below)

“This was a very useful model of education for an industry-based society, and it served us well,” says Goslin, “but times have changed, society has changed, and we need to adjust to these changes by adjusting how we teach our children.”

Goslin says rather than simply learning about things like environmental problems, students need to be learning how to solve them.

“We wouldn’t have the problem in the first place if we knew how to solve it,” says Goslin. “Rather than being knowledgeable about a lot of stuff, we need to work on becoming better problem solvers, better communicators, and better critical thinkers.”

Goslin says rapidly evolving communication technology requires us to evolve along with it. He says living in a global world, we need to use this communication to work together to solve our problems.

“There won’t be one hero that will save the day anymore,” says Goslin. “We’re going to collaborate with people around the world, and that is critical. We will need to teach our children how to do this.”

Goslin also argues that some of the tools we use in the classroom won’t be useful in the future.

“In the last century, we assigned word problems with only one correct answer. That’s not what our real problems are like. There is no one answer to global warming. Our new problems are messy with many answers.”

Many things will change as we adopt 21st century skills in the classroom, says Goslin. He says we need to rethink everything from the school day, to the school year.

“Using an agrarian calendar made plenty of sense when we were an agrarian people,” says Goslin. “If we are going to be collaborating with students in India or Australia to find solutions to our problems, it’s not terribly helpful for us to be taking the summer off. These seasons are meaningless in a global world.”

Dr. Goslin will discuss some of these ideas and propose some changes to help education adapt to new problems at the 25th Research Breakfast on Wednesday, December 1, at 7:30 a.m. in the Georgian Room of the Rodd Charlottetown.

Tickets for the breakfast are $10 each and may be purchased at the door. Please respond regarding your ability to attend by calling the Office of the Dean of Arts at 566-0307. 

Photo credit: Saad Khadi