What Do Students in the 21st Century Want?
To help answer these questions, it maybe useful to look back and reflect on human thinking. It was the educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom who introduced the following classification of levels of intellectual behavior:
|Remembering: can the student recall or remember the information?||define, duplicate, list, memorize, recall, repeat, reproduce state|
|Understanding: can the student explain ideas or concepts?||classify, describe, discuss, explain, identify, locate, recognize, report, select, translate, paraphrase|
|Applying: can the student use the information in a new way?||choose, demonstrate, dramatize, employ, illustrate, interpret, operate, schedule, sketch, solve, use, write.|
|Analyzing: can the student distinguish between the different parts?||appraise, compare, contrast, criticize, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish, examine, experiment, question, test.|
|Evaluating: can the student justify a stand or decision?||appraise, argue, defend, judge, select, support, value, evaluate|
|Creating: can the student create new product or point of view?||assemble, construct, create, design, develop, formulate, write.|
People are quick to point out that current educational systems, which some would refer to as "19th Century Schooling", emphasize only the three lower levels: Remembering, Understanding and Applying. Some would even go as far as advocating for these levels to be discarded from the classrooms. Overemphasizing the apex of a triangle does not provide for a strong base. This is what the imagery of a triangle depicts. One does not climb greater heights without conquering the lower stages first. Teachers who spend most of their time inside classrooms can likewise attest to the reality inside classrooms. Skipping the lower levels surely wins disapproval and discontent among students. What do students in the 21st century really want?
Mathematician Keith Devlin of Stanford University writes in his blog:
"...What I see in the students in high schools or those currently enrolled in a traditional college, is a total dependence on the "show me five similar examples and then ask me to do a sixth that is essentially the same" approach...
...students fall into two camps, those who value the former (21st Century learning), the others crying for the latter (19th Century instruction). Most worrying, the split appears to be largely based on age -- with the ones who will most desperately need the former (tomorrow's generation) being the ones asking for the latter (yesterday's education)...."