Giving Compass' Take:

• David Ross, writing for Getting Smart, explores what skills learners need for school, work, and life and how educators can utilize learning styles to advance student progress. 

• What are the ways that donors can support project-based learning in schools? 

Read about ways to personalize project-based learning. 

Over the last 20 years, I and my fellow reformers have settled on a grounding exercise that has proven effective in establishing shared values for educational outcomes.

When I was at the Buck Institute for Education (now PBLWorks) we developed a workshop activity called the Ideal Graduate. Colleagues such as Ken Kay, founder of both EdLeader21 and the Partnership for 21st Century Learning, and Bernie Trilling, the former global director of the Oracle Education Foundation, employed similar activities. We challenged audience members to create a list of the skills, attributes, and knowledge learners needed to be successful in college, career, and community.

Thought leaders in this space came to a tacit agreement with audiences, funders, researchers, policymakers, and community members. We agreed on the following:

  • These skills can and should be taught to all learners.
  • All learners deserve equitable opportunity to develop these skills.
  • These skills should be assessed on a regular and systematic basis.
  • These skills are most likely to be enhanced by inquiry-based pedagogies such as Project-Based Learning (PBL).

Clearly, there are stages to skill development for both adult and young learners. Clearly, we must offer multiple opportunities to develop and hone these skills over time. Trial and error are integral to the process.

We return to our original statement. There is broad consensus on the skills that all learners need to be successful in college, career, and community. That consensus has even breeched the formerly impenetrable wall of federal education policy via the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). These skills, now unleashed by the tulip fever for social-emotional learning, must be taught and assessed. That process should be governed by what we know about how learners develop skills. Let’s all get up and do the wave

Read the full article about skills development for learners by David Ross at Getting Smart.