The very question, “How do we prepare children for a future we can’t even imagine?” creates a sense of urgency, and even anxiety, for educators teaching children in a rapidly changing world. Yet the authors of Pushing the Limits deliver a message of hope and comfort as they reveal that Canadian schools are thriving.
Stakeholders have been advocating not only for the 3Rs in education but also for the 4Cs: critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration, skills that will produce citizens able to navigate the challenges of the future.
Through case studies, the authors show that many schools across Canada are, in fact, promoting the 4Cs. These schools make learning meaningful and contextualize it to the real world, engaging students in higher order skills, like collective problem-solving, to find solutions to complex problems
Among the pedagogies presented in the book, the following are being applied with support from school boards, administrators, public education advocates and teacher unions: Teaching creativity by encouraging mistakes, fostering new ideas and solutions, developing risk-taking, harnessing passion for investigation; Teaching Social/Emotional Learning (SEL) by developing self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making (essential for students to become leaders and tackle challenges with perseverance); Explicitly teaching digital citizenship to create a “positive digital footprint” and using Innovative Assistive Technology to open up potential for students with special needs; Building community by bringing social, cultural and community supports and services to build partnerships that foster holistic student learning; and providing a system of training and support to educators who are willing to “push the limits.”
Pushing the Limits is a well-written and researched book that leaves the reader with a sense of hope and confidence that preparing students for the challenges of tomorrow is work we can do every day. The Canadian schools of the future are here and they are exciting!
Adrianna Knight is a member of the Halton Teacher Local.