How should we focus learning standards in the 21st century? Should these standards be geared toward educating a productive workforce? Certainly. But should that come at the cost of teaching life skills that are fundamental to being a productive citizen and a human with the right mental equipment to deal with life's trials and tribulations. In short, do we want citizens or automatons?
While the 21st century tendency is based on productivity, the prevailing 20th century view was anchored in John Dewey's concept of educating good citizens, who are essential to a democracy. While some might argue this is a false choice between these two visions, tight budgets tend to force the issue. Moreover, when standards of achievement are set, those become the guiding principle of how we educate. It is what our students are judged by.
In today's lesson, Steven Mazie makes the argument that certain skills, that mostly have to do with creative problem solving, are being wrongly neglected. After all, he points out, these skills represent a "survival kit" for achieving happiness in the 21st century.