Opening Faculty Workshops Develop Student Skills for New Economy

At the opening faculty workshops this week, Kingswood Oxford teachers were asked to reflect on their practice using design thinking skills of creativity, problem solving and empathy. The ultimate goal is to maximize student ownership of content to enhance his/her ability to apply what he or she has learned.

Sandra Nagy and Sarah Prevett from Future Design School in Toronto facilitated the immersive hands-on workshops. Future Design School is a forward thinking organization comprised of engineers, designers, educators and entrepreneurs that promotes innovation in classrooms so that students are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow. The stats are a sobering wake up call to educators to cultivate students who are adaptable and resilient for the ever-evolving new economy. Prevett stated that one third of the skill sets required for today’s jobs will be wholly new by 2020. Additionally she stated that 65% of students entering primary school would have jobs in the future that do not exist currently.

Prevette and Nagy charged the faculty to employ design thinking as just one tool in their arsenal to teach. Design thinking, an iterative, non-linear process, involves defining the problem, sketching, critiquing and prototyping. She reminded the faculty, “We’re building entrepreneurs as a mind set and as a lens to see the world. We want the students to believe in the potential of ideas, and want them to break things, try stuff and fail.”

The faculty, divided into collaborative work groups, interviewed two students each to understand the students’ interests, motivations and learning style. Based on these insights and general themes, teachers were tasked with how might they create or modify existing learning experiences in the classroom. Using what the faculty learned in the first workshop, teachers redesigned and “hacked” a unit in one of the units they teach, considering which unit has the most applicable real world connections.

The faculty will teach a portion of the redesigned unit by the end of the first semester. By actively engaging and empowering their students, the faculty hope that the students increase their divergent thinking by connecting the dots between and among ideas, develop grit and, as a plus, have fun in the messy process of learning.


 
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Located in West Hartford, CT just steps from Blue Back Square, Kingswood Oxford is a private school inspiring co-ed day students in grades 6-12 with a college preparatory curriculum. Empowered students become clear confident communicators, resourceful problem-solvers, and ethical leaders. KO: where unlimited potential meets endless opportunities.
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