Education in the 21st century is exciting and scary all at the same time. Change is happening faster than ever, and we do not know exactly what education will look like 10 years from now. Some of the burning questions are:
How will post-secondary school change with so many online universities forming and gaining steam?
What will quality jobs look like in the future?
How do we prepare our students for jobs that do not exist yet?
And these are just a few of the questions that educational experts deal with daily. Due to these unknowns, it is imperative that our students are ready to face and conquer the unexpected. Our students must be self-motivated and able to learn something new at any moment. They must attack new challenges instead of shying away from them. Our students must be agile learners or have learning agility.
Learning agility is a person’s ability to quickly size up a new situation or problem and decide what to do. According to educational researchers Korn and Ferry, “Learning agility is about knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do.” Students who are learning agile are curious, open-minded, learn from experience, and enjoy taking on new challenges. Learning agile students thrive in ambiguous situations and truly enjoy facing new tasks. Students with learning agility are comfortable being outside their own comfort zone.
Are our students learning agile? The good news is that developing learning agility is like building a muscle--the more you use it, the stronger and better you become. Here are a few things we can do to help our students become more learning agile:
Encourage observation- the more students observe things and are able to ask “why?’ the more curious they become. We must foster curiosity.
Reading across subject areas- read things you normally would not read. If your students love reading fiction, then we need to encourage them to read a biography or current events publication. We want our students to learn to love whatever they are reading.
Try new things- our students need lots and lots of new experiences. Seeing new places, meeting new people, trying new foods, hearing new languages, or trying a new sport, are just a few of examples. New experiences are so important for growth.
Praise failure- (I do not mean a grade on a quiz or test) many people shy away from new experiences due to the fear of failure, but when we fail we learn. We should praise our students any time they take a risk or try something new no matter what the outcome is. Most of the learning comes from the experience itself.
As educators and parents, the best way we can teach our students to become learning agile is to become more learning agile ourselves--lead by example. When our students see us excited about new challenges, trying new things, or hunting for new experiences they are much more likely to do the same. So as we become more learning agile, so will our students, and their future depends on it.
Joseph Almeida is the Assistant Principal of the Lower School at Calvary. Mr. Almeida has experience as a teacher, coach, and administrator in Tennessee, Brazil, South Carolina, and now Georgia. He went to Brazil on a mission trip, and God kept him there for seven years where he served as a teacher and later as the Elementary Principal at School of the Nations in Brasilia, Brazil. What amazing experience he will be able to share with our youngest Cavaliers! John 15:12 is a verse he tries to live by every day: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
Calvary Day School offers a Christ-centered educational experience for grades Pre-K – 12 through the development of the total student- spiritually, academically, socially, and physically. We provide the best, most affordable private education in Savannah, Georgia.