To be effective, schools must continually rethink their processes. Many schools have already adopted team-teaching practices, incorporated cooperative learning, maximized technological resources, and formed business and industry partnerships. Other schools have further to go on this continuum of success. All schools, however, must continue to raise the expectations for their students. An educational environment which focuses on the use of repetitive and low-level cognitive activities is not appropriate preparation for the demands of the next century. Curricula must contain challenging ideas and tasks applied to real-life, problem-solving activities that stimulate reasoning, foster creativity and an integration of knowledge, and develop evaluative, decision-making skills.
To help students function in a diverse society, the places in which students learn should reflect the heterogeneity of the total school population and of the work world. Schools should set standards for work ethics and human interactions. Such expectations should mirror those which will be demanded of students when they leave the formal learning environment. In addition, the educational setting should reflect the cooperative team approach used by industry, while at the same time allowing for independent thought and growth. Students should also be encouraged to take intellectual risks in an environment which encourages intellectual exploration, creative thinking, and an open exchange of ideas.
Students will apply their core knowledge in a wide range of jobs. They
must therefore be allowed to gain and use in a variety of ways the knowledge
represented by these core curriculum content standards. No longer should
traditional courses provide the only means of learning and reinforcing
concepts; schools need to seek out new avenues for learning and for the
provision of resources. These avenues will likely include greater interaction
with business, industry, local government, and community organizations;
volunteer/service activities; and part-time jobs - all coordinated with
school learning activities.
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