Posted: August 22, 2017
How do you measure integrity, critical thinking, or creativity?
That is precisely what Lee Watanabe Crockett, the Vancouver-based author of Mindful Assessment, plans to address during his day-long seminar with local teachers on October 20.
As an artist and consultant with a business background, Crockett brings a valuable outsider’s perspective to the occasionally insular field of K-12 education.
“As much as we want to be open to new ideas,” says Crockett, “it’s hard to step outside of that and see what’s possible.”
This unique outlook has made him an in-demand consultant during recent curriculum changes in New Zealand and Australia. These changes are similar to those being rolled out in BC, where the focus is shifting from content to competencies. Alongside robust literacy and numeracy skills, students are expected to think critically, collaborate with their peers, and much more. These aspirations for student learning require an approach to teaching that upends traditional methods.
“In a content-based world, direct instruction can work, but ineffectively,” Crockett says. “You cannot develop competencies through direct instruction—they’re thinking processes that require students to be at the centre of learning.”
In an age of increasing automation, these particularly human skills of collaboration, creativity, and integrity will be what is required from 21st century workers, community members, and global citizens. To prepare students for this changing world, educators should seek to reframe their notions of classroom roles.
“What I would really hope is that they learn to move the responsibility of the learning from the teacher, where it has been, to the student, where it should be,” Crockett says, “that they will start to relinquish the illusion of control and produce capacity in their students to be capable, life-long learners.”
This approach is modeled in Crockett’s seminars, which focus on hands-on, collaborative learning between participants.
“I look to challenge thinking and provide opportunities to grow and transform professionally,” he says.
Ultimately, Crockett hopes teachers will see these changes as an exciting opportunity to transform instruction in a way that improves both student experience and outcomes.
“I hope they walk away feeling optimistic about the future and more empowered to handle the shift not only in what the government expects of us as educators, but what students demand of us as learners. I hope they will walk away with the toolset to address that and the mindset to embrace it with joyful curiosity.”
Lee Watanabe Crockett will be working with educators to develop their proficiency in Mindful Assessment at the Langley Events Centre on October 20, the provincial Pro-D Day. Admission is $50 for Langley School District staff and $150 for other guests, and includes a catered lunch. Registration is available now at thinklangley.pdplace.com