Chapter 7: Twenty-first Century Skills
Second, I am an IB teacher in an IB school- and as members of the International Baccalaureate Organization, we benefit from a similar parallel curriculum to pair with our teaching. If you scroll down, you'll see an overview of the terms included in the IB program. I quickly made a lot of connections between the IB program and the list of skills suggested by Paul Solarz- no need to add on another project, since I already work with such a similar framework (sorry Paul!).
Yes, it's also a long list.
Yes, it can get way more detailed than what you see below.
And yes, it takes time to learn it all.
The IBO has the benefit of being an established organization, with standard operating procedures- read: tricks and tips that can make a parallel curriculum accessible to all teachers. With ease-of-use and simplicity in mind, here are a few ways to make this parallel curriculum more user-friendly.
Teach through units
A novice teacher may think teaching individual stand-alone units is easier than planning a 4-6 week unit, but they would be wrong! While it takes some getting used to, planning and teaching in unit formats will save you time, effort, energy, and frustration in the long run. Here are a few reasons why I love units:
Divide & Regroup
Now that you are teaching in units (that was fast!), you can divide up your parallel curriculum, whether it be Solarz's 21st century skills, or the IBO program, or anything else and sprinkle the skills in your units throughout the year. What I mean by this is that you will not be able to hit all the skills and concepts you want to in one unit. That's okay. By focusing on 2 or 3 per unit, you can give each skill the time it deserves, and touch on most if not all of them throughout the year. Some skills also naturally lend themselves to certain units, so why not embrace that connection?
Keep it Documented
Through the IB program, teachers plan 6 units a year (6-8 weeks each). Each unit must touch on a few attitudes, attributes, and concepts. Since our units are so well documented, we teachers can ensure that all the outlined skills are taught during the year. When units are updated or retired, we can also make sure new units touch on the necessary skills.
Another benefit of the IB program, which I am not trying to sell, I'm just a big fan of such of this comprehensive and well-rounded program, is that the whole school has agreed to teach with this framework. This ensures all these skills are taught and reinforced every year, with every teacher! With teachers and students using the same vocabulary to highlight these skills, students are aware and reflective of this parallel curriculum.
In the end, whatever you choose to do, it doesn't have to be the IB program. Find a way to make it work for you. While I have no doubt that teachers are teaching a secondary curriculum, having a list, or program to refer to can help make sure you touch on all the skills you judge important. What system works best for you? for your school?
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