Schools, businesses and the media have been using the phrase “21st century learning” for well over a decade. I have read many definitions but generally it refers to an education that prepares children for the world of today and tomorrow. If you google the phrase, you will find lots written about 21st century learning but visitors to BIS Hanoi this week would have seen it happening live during our incredible Maths Week.
You can read more about Maths Week in John Kennedy’s subject leader piece in this week’s Hub. However, I want to highlight the 21st century learning skills that emerged from the week. We tested the children’s problem solving skills by posing this challenge:
Find a way to get the entire school aged 3-18 working together to solve Maths problems.
The students had to collaborate, form teams, delegate, support, lead, analyse and act with purpose. Some of the students’ use of technology was impressive. One group of students, for example, used the software GeoGebra to design a model of moving motorbike parts. But it was the words of a Year 13 student, Duong Le thuy that helped us realise that the children had had a profound learning experience, as they worked with children as young as three to meet the challenge of 21st century learning.
“It wasn’t really about the Maths involved. It was about improving our efficiency and being more organised. It was persuading and influencing others in the group. We learned about patience, compassion and empathy. We had to care for everyone in our large group and this challenge improved our leadership skills.” Duong Le Thuy
For me Duong’s definition of 21st century learning is the best one I have read in over a decade of reading about the subject.
Tim Webb, Head of Secondary