As a young educator, I see the value of project-based learning and collaboration because they allow students to develop these soft skills that can’t be easily measured by a number on a test or report card. I believe that education has the responsibility to deliver content and curricula developed around the skills demanded by a new era sculpted by internet technology and mass information. I believe in creating a collaborative learning culture within my classroom as an integral component of my classroom management plan. If students are not exposed to these types of learning spaces in school, they are at a distinct disadvantage compared to other students who have the resources and access to learn these skills outside of school. All students deserve the opportunity to grow and have access to greater economic mobility.
In the second op-ed article, Friedman continues his analysis with how important it is to combine the liberal arts with other disciplines. Doing so requires holistic thinking which can balance and integrate expertise into disparate backgrounds. Bock believes that these individuals contribute to “building great societies, great organizations.”
After reading the second article, I couldn’t help but feel somewhat validated in my nontraditional academic background as I graduated with a bachelor's degree in English Literature and completed a post-baccalaureate program in the pre-medical sciences. Before committing myself to the field of education, I had my eyes set on being a physician. I had the disposition and drive but after so many volunteer hours and many discussions with practitioners in the field, I came to realize that this wasn’t something I really wanted to do. I struggled to complete the coursework, and I failed to find fulfillment amongst the hundreds of volunteer hours in the free clinic and hospital. I wanted to the ability to express creativity, to explore ideas, to facilitate the growth of others. I believe I have finally found this as an educator. As a young biology teacher at the cusp of implementation of new NGSS standards, I see myself as uniquely qualified as my background and experiences draw from multiple disciplines. Tradition has segregated the content areas into neat packages that I’ve learned to deconstruct and rebuild from my own academic experiences. For a long-time, I never truly felt like an expert in anything as I always dabbled in a variety of subjects and never found myself able to go further than my interest allowed. I no longer see this as a lack of expertise, but as a catalogue that demonstrates my cognitive flexibility. I would love to work at Google, but until then I will see if I can get some of my students there first.
Friedman, T. L. (2014, February 23). How to Get a Job at Google, Part 1. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com
Friedman, T. L. (2014, April 19). How to Get a Job at Google, Part 2. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com