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Self Reflection: Staying Ahead of the Game for our Students

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Teaching and Learning
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June 30, 2015

“Digital Native.” This is a common term for the generation of students in your classrooms today and next fall. I heard a story recently regarding a young man (in his late teens) employed at a local car dealership. He was asked to move a car, but after a few minutes came back into the dealership confused and befuddled, as he couldn’t find the button to turn the car on. They had to show him how to use a key! Another story I recently heard was about how a teacher asked a fourth grader what time it was by looking at the clock on the wall (a clock with two hands and numbers). Sadly, he couldn’t answer because he was only used to digital clocks on phones. These are both examples of issues most adults do not face but that are becoming more commonplace among young students due to modernizations that have changed simple, daily functions.

Technology will continue to change at a rapid rate. Therefore, we as educators must reflect on whether or not we are both adapting and providing students the knowledge & tools they need (critical thinking, digital awareness, and basic foundations in both math and reading) to prepare for the challenges they’ll face in an ever-changing world. I challenge all educators, during these “lazy-days” of summer, to read at least one professional book to challenge your thinking and perhaps provide ideas for your instructional practices. Below are some recommendations that, while non-educational, can be applied to any setting.

Lessons from the Mouse by Dennis Snow. This is a quick read (good for administrators and leadership teams) that presents 10 lessons to guide readers in applying excellence in their own organizations, careers, and lives. A great tool focusing on increased organizational effectiveness.

Drive by Daniel Pink is one worth reading again. Forget everything you thought you knew about how to motivate people—at work, at school, at home. As Pink explains in his paradigm-shattering book, the secret to high performance and satisfaction in today’s world is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.

Finally, Switch by two brothers, Chip & Dan Heath.  This book shows that successful changes follow a pattern–one you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world, your school, your classroom or your waistline!

Happy reading and acquire new tools every day!

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