Preparing Kids for an Unknown Future

Houston educators gather to discuss methods of instruction and to explore the challenges and opportunities in teaching today’s students and preparing them for tomorrow. The gathering was presented by the American Leadership Forum and Houston A-Plus Challenge. Houston Public Radio’s Pat Hernandez reports.

He highlight of the 2008 convocation on education was the keynote address by David Warlick, a prominent educator, consultant and author. He stressed the importance of integrating technology in the classroom. Society has done a good job in helping our children be teachable. Warlick says it’s now time to teach children how to teach themselves.

“Are we preparing children to prosper and to have productive lives in a future that we cannot
clearly describe? Things are changing so fast that we don’t understand the workplace that they’re going into, we don’t understand the lifestyle that we’re going into, and that’s the challenge that
goes across the board. How do we need to help children become ready to invent their future?
I think that’s what the challenge is that goes across the board.”

Wanda Bamberg, Superintendant of the Aldine Independent School District, was surprised that her colleagues were on the same page. She says changes must come from the classroom teacher, the school and the system in order to move forward.

“We are the problem. Those of us who are afraid, those of us who don’t have the technology skills and are afraid of the technology that the children feel so comfortable with that we are the ones and we’ll have to change the behavior of the adults, so we can change the behavior of the students.”

Harriett Wasserstrum, President of the American Leadership Forum, says the challenge in educating kids today is preparing them for the future.

“One of the things that I think is really important is we have to understand that whatever our kids learn today it’s not going to prepare them for what they need in the future. So we absolutely have to make sure that they love learning and to me that’s a big focus because there’s no way since we can’t even describe what they’re going to do twenty years from now. How to we train them to do that? So we need to teach them skills on how to continue to learn, but we have to make them love to learn.”

District superintendants participated in a panel discussion on the future of Education and what it will require to prepare for that future. Abe Saavedra, is headmaster of the Houston Independent school district.

“How we do it really is working as collaboratively as possible with all our publics, all the stakeholders. Not only the educators, but our community, our parents. The real challenges in public education are not the kids, it’s really the adults, and we need to continue to push that agenda and get adults to understand we need to do things differently in public ed.”

Everyone agrees that it will take a lot of work to re-engineer the system to train all educators, so that learning is seen in a different light.

Pat Hernandez, Houston Public Radio News.

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