To bring about a secure future, students need to be fully engaged in creating a better world.
What challenges will today's students face in the 21st century? Whenever I pose this question in a workshop, teachers generate a grim litany of global woes: widespread hunger, persistent poverty, environmental degradation, climate change, social instability, and threats of war and terrorism.
The next question—How are we preparing our students to create a more just, humane, and secure world?—typically gets fewer responses. As we probe this question, teachers give voice to real concerns affecting their practice: The world's problems are overwhelming; students try to distance themselves from painful realities; teachers can't think of examples of positive changes and don't have the time or support to research them. And with all the other pressures and mandates, why expend the energy or risk the controversy? In the end, the conversation comes back to a central theme: In spite of the obstacles, educators want guidance for helping their students shape a positive future.