Change in mindset key to better education

December 12, 2010

Teachers have to know their students’ passion and encourage passion-based learning, an American author and education consultant has said.

“Just asking kids what their passion makes a huge difference,” Marc Prensky told a session on ‘Skills for the 21st Century’ at the second edition of World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) in Doha.

Prensky, author of Teaching Digital Natives: Partnering for Real Learning, said too many politicians and educational reformers were looking into the past.

Reverence to the past

“We need to show reverence to the past, but not live in it. We have to change how we teach and what we teach. We live in an era of accelerating change,” Prensky said, Qatari daily Gulf Times reported on Thursday.

Participation of the youth in forums such as WISE ensures that their voices are heard, he said.

“Children’s involvement in such forums will bring in new views and perspectives. We need to move to a better pedagogy than ‘just telling.’ The 21st century kids can teach themselves, but with guidance. Teachers need to become coach/guide/partner,” Prensky added.

Birzeit University, Palestine, president Khalil S. Hindi said that foreign language skills, cosmopolitanism, reconciliation of multiple overlapping identities within oneself and respect for others were among the 21st century skills.

Katerine Bielaczyc, deputy head and associate professor of Learning Sciences Lab of Singapore’s National Institute of Education, called for moving beyond individual learning to community learning.

“Become adaptive creators of knowledge. The necessary change for schools is a change in the mindset,” Bielaczyc said.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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