Learning in the 21st Century focuses more the “How to” rather than the “What are”. With the widespread use of the world wide web and the availability of Google search, we can find information on practically anything online.
As such, what then does real learning entails? In my opinion, it is the problem-solving skills that we need to learn for us to sail through smoothly in life.
Few would disagree that building critical thinking and creative problem solving skills is imperative for today’s students. However, subject matter knowledge is equally important. However, core subjects and core ideas are equally important to meet the objectives of effective education.
Everyone knows that students need knowledge as well as skills. We have to teach content, too.”
But what exactly is content? Is it the stuff found in a textbook? Is it information? Is it the definitions, formulas and facts of a subject area? Well, in my opinion, it is all of the above!
While content is important, we need to recognise that it’s more than the definitions and formulas found in a textbook. Content is made up of the concepts and principles of our world. Teaching concepts and principles with examples and non-examples can go a long way in helping students develop true understanding. In doing so, we offer our students more than something to be memorized. We offer them the “stuff” they need for problem solving which is useful for life.
When you say that someone is literate, you are not saying that they know how to read; you are saying that they are well read or have read a lot. And not only that but the assumption is that they have acquired the knowledge gained from reading (it is part of them and it is used both to support and to contradict what this literate person believes or doesn’t believe). A literate person therefore has evidence to bolster and base beliefs upon and ammunition to argue against other beliefs.
Where problem solving is concerned, a problem to be solved must be compelling enough to need a solution. Sufficient thinking must be applied to analyse the problem and the solution proposed to it must be believable, plausible, and doable. An effective solution to a problem is thus irrefutable because it works!
Hence, the art of critical thinking is definitely an important part of learning which can add value to your life and light up your world. Let us all start our lifelong learning journey now by learning something new everyday!