The Four Simple Rules for Outstanding Teaching, and the One Strategy for Being Indispensible

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The system results in a population with similar skills in a narrow spectrum of talents. Unfortunately, most students continue to be educated in the same way as they were in the past, being taught a standardised curriculum through rote learning and individualised testing, at a one-size-fits-all pace.


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Far too many students are struggling to learn because they are disengaged and lack motivation. Why go to school when you could learn the same information faster by watching a Youtube video or playing a computer game? Why memorise facts for a test when you have all the information in the palm of your hand anyway? Schools are failing to teach students to respond to rapid change and how to handle new information because they are clinging to obsolete methods.

EDUCATION IN THE 21st CENTURY - Think Strategic for Schools

Growing up with this level of technology means growing up with a completely unprecedented amount of information at your fingertips. There are kids who have never been more than a few seconds away from the answers to their questions, with everything just a quick search away.

They are able to teach themselves about any topic they are interested in without even leaving their bedroom. The current cohort of students come from Generation Z and Generation Alpha. These two generations have grown up with advanced technology as a given in their homes and classrooms. They are digital natives, as comfortable using apps and code as their grandparents were flipping pages. Generations Z and Alpha are also the most internationally connected in history. They encounter people online from all over the world, and can easily make friends on the other side of the planet before they have even left their home state.

Schools and parents are also increasingly offering children and young people the opportunity to travel, creating a truly borderless experience of learning. The students in our schools today are intelligent, independent and extremely capable. They are skilled with technology and comfortable with global and intercultural communication. We can expect that future generations are going to have even more experience in these areas. A 21st century education is about giving students the skills they need to succeed in this new world, and helping them grow the confidence to practice those skills.

With so much information readily available to them, 21st century skills focus more on making sense of that information, sharing and using it in smart ways. These four themes are not to be understood as units or even subjects, but as themes that should be overlaid across all curriculum mapping and strategic planning.


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They should be part of every lesson in the same way as literacy and numeracy. Creativity is about thinking through information in new ways, making new connections and coming up with innovative solutions to problems. Critical thinking is about analysing information and critiquing claims.

Building a Game-Changing Talent Strategy

Communication is understanding things well enough to share them clearly with other people. Collaboration is about teamwork and the collective genius of a group that is more than the sum of its parts. There are other skills that are important, which fall within these four areas. Entrepreneurship can be considered a skill of its own.

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Inquiry and problem solving are key. Emotional intelligence EQ is one of the most important keys to successful work and relationships. The bottom line? Education needs to be all about empowering students with transferable skills that will hold up to a rapidly changing world, not prescribed content that has been chosen for its past relevance.

Decision Rights

While digital integration is also fundamental to a thorough 21st century education, it is not enough to simply add technology to existing teaching methods. Technology must be used strategically to benefit students. Students are increasingly advanced users of technology even as they enter school for the first time, so this can often mean being open to the possibilities presented rather than attempting to teach and prescribe the use of certain programs.

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ISC Research have tracked these changes in their research. In the past, international schools were primarily for the families of military personnel and diplomats. In the year there were 2, international schools globally with fewer than one million students attending, but in December there were over 8, international schools with almost 4. The vast majority of these students are now local children hoping to attend university in the West. Countless studies corroborate the idea that self-care reduces stress, which can deplete your energy and impair your judgment. While self-care is more of a habit or practice for your own well-being than an actual classroom management strategy, the benefits include improved executive function, greater empathy, and increased resilience—all qualities that will empower you to make better decisions when confronted with challenging classroom situations.

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This was the theme we heard the most: Building healthy student-teacher relationships is essential to a thriving classroom culture, and even sets the stage for academic success. Simple efforts like greeting kids outside the classroom before the start of the day pay outsized dividends.

e-book The Four Simple Rules for Outstanding Teaching, and the One Strategy for Being Indispensible

Love them unconditionally, but hold them accountable. They need some basic structure—and consistency—to feel safe and to focus. You can be kind, loving, and supportive, but you still have to be their teacher. If you say it, mean it. And if you mean it, say it. If you want calm and productive, project that to your kids. It completely changed the vibe in my classroom. If they are misbehaving it is kind of like when a baby cries; there is something wrong in their world. If they are misbehaving for attention then find out why they need the attention and how you can give them what they need.