Friday, July 24, 2009

The Wrong Stuff

“We’re teaching the wrong stuff.”

Who said that? Some wild-eyed education critic in 2007 or Dr. Maria Montessori in 1907? Neither. That conclusion comes from an engineering professor at the North Carolina State University. Is he calling for more calculus and physics? No, he is calling for engineering schools to move away from “…traditional ‘I talk, you listen’ pedagogy toward the active, cooperative, problem-based approaches that have been repeatedly shown to equip students with the skills...” graduates will need to be employable in the 21st century American job market.

Sounds like a Montessori classroom.

What are the personal attributes Professor Richard Felder believes schools must help engineering students develop?
• creative and entrepreneurial mind set;
• holistic, multi-disciplinary thinker;
• strong interpersonal skills;
• language skills and cultural awareness;
• self-directed learner.

That list sounds like the portrait of a Post Oak School graduate; universal characteristics that Montessori schools across the country consistently report observing.

You can read Felder’s brief article on Tomorrow’s Professor Blog, a partnership between Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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