THE LONG VIEW
Reading intelligently is a core skill in the 21st century
classroom and workplace
Why is discerning, discriminating intelligent reading likely to be the most important skill for all citizens in all countries in the 21st century ?
Because Google exists – they say ‘our mission is to facilitate access to information for the entire world, and in every language.’ (Their competitors are growing too)
They clarify it in this way : ‘Even if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, finding an answer on the web is our problem, not yours. We try to anticipate needs not yet articulated by our global audience, and meet them with products and services that set new standards’.
They are serious about this, even though point 9 of their ten point plan remains
‘you can be serious without a suit.’ (Those observing our habits and translating
them into ‘associative information products’ which our children might choose to access
are in plain view, in plain clothes -
Gradually we know that our children are becoming aware of this; they play around on the computer, they explore and they find a range of possible answers to questions which they did not themselves know they had asked before they sat down at the computer. They are, with Google’s help, expanding their inner map.
As we hear the language versus phonics debate rage around staff-
What we as parents don’t want is that any search engine should become the most informed
Today’s teachers and parents need to take charge of teaching that skill, and make it more exciting and rewarding than any search engine or electronic database can ever make it.
Our resources are not measurable in turnover.
However we have a few advantages we can bring to this work : THERE IS HOPE.
We have ourselves and our personal experience of creating a mental mosaic, based on ethics, and values which take into account the concept of seeking the ‘common good’. We in Pyr will discuss ethical issues, around the lives of scientists, novelists, and other historical figures in all of our school sessions. Their mental maps need to be imbued with values. They need to have ‘modelled’ how to consider these matters
We have a prior commitment to filling their waking day with meaningful connections, and with information we trust. That is why Pyr sessions connect geography, science, music and history, with song and poems. We want them to see that subject teaching is not the only way we adults know how to think/teach.
We need to engage their attention NOW in ways which no search engine output can never simulate. That is why Pyr uses discussion, music and drama. Waiting for a ‘change of paradigm’ in 10 years will leave a generation of children to the mercies of the
search engines as we struggle to agree a way forward.