As we spent time in class this week unpacking the North Carolina standards in light of the revised Blooms taxonomy I was left with the question- “why do we care about students’ higher-level thinking skills?” I’m sure my students had the same question.
The last few years, articles, policy documents and experts (e.g., ISTE Standards, 21st Century Skills, and Metiri Group) have talked about the need to prepare K-12 students to have 21st century skills. In some cases that means preparing our teachers and students to work in environments that don’t currently exist. Whether its virtual worlds, online classrooms, or face-to-face classrooms in which every student has a hand-held computing device, there is no doubt that in the next 2 decades, access to technology and the potential for schools will continue to shift for the better.
In that spirit, if we end up teaching students only content with no process or HOTS, then our students will eventually become the kings of weekday night trivia at the local pub, but expendable in the work force. Whether teachers are situated in a technology-rich environment or a rural school in Mbita, Kenya, teachers must stretch their students by designing complex activities, asking the how and why questions, and developing students’ reasoning skills. Sure, resources- curriculum, technology and other materials- matter, but it’s amazing what can happen even without those resources with a teacher willing to challenge their students and students with an elastic mentality, willing to be stretched.