The converging impact of knowledge explosion, “extended reality” and the yet-to-come “metaverse” have revolutionized our globe, bringing about challenges to the current education system in that it does not cater for the learning experience Millennial and Generation Z students need to be able to compete globally. This has developed into a worldwide concern that “traditional” education is failing us on providing students with the skills and traits necessary to compete in the 21st century context. The growing mismatch between demand and supply of skills and traits holds back growth and undermines opportunities. Therefore, an innovative approach to education fostering noncognitive skills will not only empower students for their future endeavors, it will also prepare them to “navigate the increasingly complex post-truth society” once they are made citizens with a cosmopolitan outlook and cross-cultural understanding, capable of interacting collaboratively in multicultural settings, communicating more effectively, resolving issues more creatively and thinking critically.
The current system of education has been attempting to solve 21st Century problems using 20th Century concepts; it just won’t work! We have been working to make meaningful learning occur using a content-based approach to curriculum and instruction; that simply does not seem to work either! The result has been a desperate trial cycle wherein educators repetitively adopt one approach only to cast it aside later in favor of the next promising novelty that comes down the pipeline. Teachers have become world-weary as they are required to try new approaches every single year; from multiple intelligences, to brain-based learning, to differentiated instruction and so on. A year or two on each new approach will never add up. Students cannot be prepared for the challenges presented by their era, with just a year or two on an approach to learning, before moving on to next year’s new approach. The problem is the lesson, and the solution, as Einstein suggests, is adopting a “new consciousness”. What we need is a paradigm shift to a totally new perspective to education that addresses the 21st Century Challenges.
Al Rawabi Private Schools has thoroughly examined the root causes of these multiple challenges in order to formulate an integrated perspective, comprehensive strategy and detailed policy framework attuned to the realities, needs and emerging opportunities of the 21st century, and thus outline a whole-child education philosophy concerning teaching, learning and assessment.
As we enter the new millennium, a number of factors are converging to make it evident that just scoring higher in tests is an undermining view of education. We need to expand our notion of intelligence to promoting thinking skills, character virtues, social skills, leadership skills, and learning skills; the urgent skills students need for the fast-changing, interdependent world of the future. The change rate accelerates, learning one more fact shows less importance compared to the ability to categorize, analyze, synthesize, compare-contrast, and summarize information. With this comes the social emotional development of the students as mandatory to their personal development.
The system in which the student is passive while the teacher is active is no longer valid for the 21st Century. Students come to school with character dispositions and prior knowledge that should mark the starting point for the teacher to deliver learning and thus become a moderator of learning rather than a source of information. Spiraling up the curriculum, building on prior knowledge, making use of empowering activities, and blending teaching and learning strategies are all notions to be considered by teachers to make education more effective, and learning more “visible”. Visible teaching and learning means that the students’ become assessment-capable. They are clear about the learning intentions, and go through a real-world meaningful learning experience whereby they can reach the summit of their productive potentials. Then, they make use of a set of success criteria to assess their own or peers’ product to identify their learning gaps and work with constructive feedback to refine their final product. In doing so, students enhance their academic achievement by acquiring the disciplinary knowledge, mastering the intended skills and reaching conceptual understanding. With the value-based education in mind, students also develop their moral, social and emotional skills, and enhance their global awareness.
The school philosophy promotes a sophisticated roadmap of strategic pathways towards providing the student with a learning experience that is value-based, meaningful and relevant.