Katherine Koonce, M. Ed.
Every day at CPA students are taught to press in to challenge, to try new things, and explore new ideas. We want our students to be lifelong learners, and so we have to teach them in a way that they not only learn what we're teaching them, but they will learn how to learn. And what’s more, we want to teach them to view what they are learning through the grid of the Christian worldview, with the knowledge that they have been created by a loving God for a specific purpose.
When we consider what students need to know, we have to consider the fact that they are still discovering who they are, how they are designed and what their unique calling might be. Many of the careers and callings they will pursue do not exist yet and that they will use technologies that haven’t even been invented to find solutions to problems that haven’t even emerged yet.
21st Century Skills
The global landscape of learning is changing rapidly, reshaping how we think of “academic skills”. We are no longer a technical skills-based society, but a knowledge-based society. Students have access to an abundance of information from a myriad of sources; they are exposed to rapid changes in technology; and they are expected to collaborate with others and make some sort of contribution.
The term “21st century learning skills” has been tossed around in educational circles in recent years, but they are important to our thinking at the Academy as we plan what happens in the classroom, what we want students to learn, how we will know if they are learning.
In all of our courses and levels of instruction, in ways that are developmentally appropriate, we are emphasizing these 21st Century Skills:
- Creativity and innovation
- Critical thinking and problem solving
- Communication and collaboration
- Literacy (information, communications, technology)
- Life Skills (flexibility and adaptability, initiative and self-direction, social and cultural skills, productivity and accountability, leadership and responsibility)
These skills are woven throughout the units of instruction, the chapters of text, the science labs, the projects assigned, the fine arts classes...in every learning scenario, our goal is to look for opportunities to teach these skills.
We seek, in essence, to prepare our students to be good citizens of this world – in the workplace and their community, digitally, and as part of their family and friend circles – and to be individually aware of God’s unique calling on their lives. As they are taught to be good citizens, we trust we are encouraging them toward fulfillment of the calling God has on their lives in the 21st century.