Gail_Mears

Letter from Dean Mears

Welcome to this Edition of the New Hampshire Journal of Education: Teaching Today: Pedagogy, Perspective, and Practice. How exciting to see educators across all levels of education come together to consider pedagogical approaches designed to engage all learners and meet 21st Century needs. Initiatives such as STEM to STEAM, competency-based education; design thinking, innovative uses of technology, and the emphasis on team work attest to our understanding that we need to develop citizens who can deeply consider the implications of decisions and actions on multiple stakeholders, use technology to optimize outcomes, and work effectively with others to identify and implement the best approaches.

At PSU we are undergoing a major reorganization of our campus into Integrated Clusters to ensure all students are involved in authentic learning experiences that involve teams of students, faculty, staff and external partners. While students will continue to have major areas of study, their education will be enhanced by a focus on cross-disciplinary, project-based learning that helps students learn to integrate and analyze information across multiple disciplines. We understand that the complex issues our students will face post-graduation require the ability to look at examine issues from different perspectives, to work collaboratively in teams, and to integrate information across disciplines. We recognize that this pedagogical shift has been implemented in many p-12 districts and we want to continue this good work.

Education has moved from the transmission of information to shared learning experiences that involve students, educators and the community. Information is readily accessible and no longer the prime focus of education. Understanding, analysis, integration and effective application of knowledge is now required. Rows of chairs with a teacher in the front of the room represents of pedagogy that belongs to an earlier era (though many of our classrooms are still set up this way).  We are struggling to make the transition from a model of education that imparts knowledge to a model of education that engages learners. Of course there is foundational knowledge that still needs to be mastered and developmental implications in terms of how to best structure and scaffold learning experiences, yet we are clearly in a shifting educational environment. This shift calls for revisioning of our understanding about how to best support student learning. Information recall is still a necessary element but clearly not the heart of the educational journey.

As we move to align our pedagogical approaches to this new reality, many of us realize the need to rethink, retool, refresh and at times recreate our past practices. The New Hampshire Journal of Education brings us all into a professional learning community where we can share our ideas, strategies and concerns. I am honored that PSU continues to be an active member of this community and grateful to all of you who play a vital role in our shared learning. I want to particularly thank our journal co-editors Dr. True and Dr. Curdie and all of the contributing authors.

As always, I look forward to our continued collaborations!

Regards,

Gail Mears, Dean

College of Education, Health and Human Services

Plymouth State University