" I always say we have to open the window to the adult world for kids and actually have conversations about what's happening and what one is learning."
In the third #21For21 episode of Competencies without a Classroom podcast, we interview Tricia Berry, a learning specialist with the New Brunswick department of education and early childhood development.
What can you borrow from Tricia for your classroom to help teach 21st century skills?
Tricia is supporting and mandating teachers by looking at ways to modernize career development in the classroom. With the ever-changing landscape in the world in-and-outside the classroom, Tricia believes that educators and teachers will also have to respond differently. For Tricia, that means helping New Brunswick teachers to help students build their teamwork skills, their ability to problem solve and to be critical thinkers.
Tricia stresses the shift in being more intentional about the skills we try to teach students and the connection those skills have to their lives after school.
While this might seem obvious and inherent to most educators, Tricia notes that explaining 'the why' and calling out the learning helps students to understand the relevance in their learning -- which in turn increases engagement and academic achievement.
What 21st century competency or skill is being developed?
Future Ready Learning is the idea of fulfilling the portrait of a learner in New Brunswick. That is to say, developing the problem-solving skills, critical thinking and other 'global competencies' that students will need to be as autonomous, and successful, as possible in their careers.
Tricia believes that we've moved to a skill-based economy, not a job-based one; meaning its more critical than ever to teach skills that will be transferrable across many career paths, versus job-specific ones.
21st Century Skills - Rapid Fire Questions:
Q: What's the one competency that, if Tricia were the superintendent of a school board, every student would learn?
A: Experiential learning, having students encounter authentic experiences and solve problems related to the world outside the classroom. The knowledge gained from these experiences cannot be looked up on a phone.
Q: What's one life skill each student should learn in high school?
A: Social-emotional learning, A focus on acquiring social and emotional competencies - developing relationships and skills to work effectively with others.
Q: Which would you prioritize, EQ or IQ?
A: EQ. Tricia believes EQ is what will enable young people to be successful in the future. While its important to gain certain credentials and learning, many success and happiness factors will come from strong EQ.
Q: If you have a magic wand, what is one thing you would change about K-12 education today?
A: Finding knowledge can be easy these days [with online resources], changing education to be focused on the application of knowledge and having a wide variety of experiences would be Tricia's change with a magic wand.
Reflection Prompts for Your Students
Use the prompts below to have your students reflect on what they heard in the episode and consider how Lauren's advice can be applied to them.
- Tricia shares that if she was superintendent, all each student's curriculum would be focused on experiential learning and authentic experiences. Why do you think this competency is important? If you were in charge of including experiential learning in this class, what activities would you have students do?
- If you were in charge of ensuring that experiential learning was a core focus of learning in our high school, what new courses might you create for students? Why did you choose that course? What competencies could be developed through it?
- Consider the idea that knowledge or facts are easy to find, but the application and experiences of solving real-world problems are what will differentiate students' success in their lives after school. Set a SMART goal with an action plan to continue developing/improving this skill.
- Tricia believes that EQ is a greater priority over IQ. Why does she believe that EQ is a greater determinate of one's success and happiness? Do you agree with her?
Bite-Sized Video Clips
If you're running short on time, or just want to play a snippet for your class or colleagues, the bite-sized videos below are perfect for sharing.
- OECD Project on Career Readiness (2:37)
- Explain 'the Why' to Increase Engagement and Academic Success (7:45)
- Social Emotional Learning in the Curriculum (9:27)
- Learn More about Tricia (17:10)