I’m reading a sobering new book called The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need and What We Can Do About It by Tony Wagner. Wagner is co-director of the Change Leadership Group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He has done a lot of research into the topic and his book is a powerful call to action.
Wagner describes the global achievement gap as “the gap between what even our best suburban, urban and rural public schools are teaching and testing versus what all students will need to succeed as learners, workers, and citizens in today’s global knowledge economy.” He goes on to say that “even in these ‘good’ schools, students are simply not learning the skills that matter most for the twenty-first century.”
What are these skills?
The First Survival Skill
Critical thinking and problem solving.
In researching the book, Wagner spoke to leaders in all types of businesses. He writes: “It turns out that asking good questions, critical thinking, and problem solving go hand in had in the minds of most employers and business consultants, and taken together they represent the First Survival Skill of the new global ‘knowledge economy.’ Equally important, they are skills that our kids need in order to participate effectively in our democracy.”
Librarians can play a huge part in teaching kids to ask good questions through well-developed research activities in the library.
Look for more survival skills in future posts.