Three Corner Shot

The Collaboration of Academia, Corporate America, and District Schools

Twenty-first century instructors face formidable new challenges as they attempt to transpose complex material to an increasingly diverse population of students (Hammond, 2006).  At the same time, because of the demands of the “knowledge economy” with its complex information and communication technologies and myriad media tools, educators will need to teach communication and collaboration, as well as contextual learning abilities, and meta-cognition (Dede, 2009).  Importantly new age communications skills entail not only giving engaging and informative  presentations and clearly expressing oneself in face-to face encounters but also include inculcating in the students  capabilities in mediated dialogue within the  context of virtual 2.0 learning  (Dede, 2009).  Lastly, higher order thinking must be addressed since it facilitates decision-making and undergirds the creative processes which, in turn, enable problem solving heuristics (Dede, 2009). 

Today’s teachers must also conceptually understand perennially- and millennia-oriented skill sets such as knowing how student learning unfolds in the context of cognitive and psychological development, being aware of a range of learning abilities, addressing physical and emotional challenges, and dealing effectively with language and cultural influences (Hammond, 2006).    Additionally, faculty must also address the individual student’s attitudes, interests, and approaches to learning (Hammond, 2006).  Furthermore, these educators must be skilled in complex communication which includes the ability to facilitate dialogue and discussion in the mercurial milieu of the classroom (Dede, 2009).  Finally, twenty-first century demands of the economy require teachers to place more emphasis on productivity skills (effective use of real-world tools and operative prioritizing, planning, and management of results), and life skills (leadership, ethics, accountability, and self-direction, etc.) (Dede, 2009).

Unfortunately, research has strongly suggested that there is a tenuous correlation between the teaching that takes place in a large number of American schools and the demands of twenty-first education (Hammond, 2006).  As a result of this imbalance, many students will be unprepared to participate fully in the economic spheres of our society (Hammond, 2006).  Many learning leaders contend that to correct this disconnect between teaching and the acquisition of real-world twenty-first century knowledge and skills we must look to the institutions that prepare candidates to teach in our schools.  Although teacher education is only one factor that enables effective teaching of twenty-first century skills, it is the keystone upon which all other reform efforts rely (Hammond, 2006).  Consequently the focus of my action plan is to reform and revitalize university-based teacher preparation programs that currently often espouse ineffective and antiquated programs (Dede, 2009).  

The short-term goal of my action plan is to develop and evaluate characteristics of a model program for pre-service teacher preparation.  This framework will highlight the necessary pedagogical skills and knowledge teachers must acquire to prepare students for success in college and/ or the new age workforce.  As such, the attending courses will be sequenced in consistent fashion among an array of universities.  Each course will have a strong adhesive bonding with other courses in the program (Hammond, 2006).  In addition, there will be a strong nexus between theoretical learning and frequent practical applications in the classroom.  The reasoning for these affiliations is thus: first, knowledge becomes more deeply ingrained when core ideas are reiterated across courses; moreover, cognitive studies have supported the belief that people learn more expeditiously when ideas are reinforced and connected in both theory and in practice; finally, the practical applications of theory in classroom settings will be closely observed by expert educators as part of the advisement process (Hammond, 2006).

The timeframe for the entire program will be five years. This will include the research segment, as well as implementing the resulting criteria in the practical world of higher education as well as local schools.  During this period the development, analyzing, implementation, and evaluation phases of the program will be continually revisited in a cycler and recursive fashion. The objective of the serial iterations that arise is to provide feedback and reflective sessions in order to continually refine and improves the deliverables.

A robust group of participants will take part in these revitalizing efforts.  This leadership team will include teachers, principals and superintendents, the cognoscenti from universities, and  corporate leaders, as well as “think tank” intelligentsia.  Together, they will establish a consensus and commit adequate funding around a vision for transforming a university’s program to address the needs of 21st century teachers and learners (Hammond, 2006).  Later, as theory becomes practice the focus will shift to developing and fully implementing the finer points of a college-style preparatory curriculum.  However, before this stage is reached pilot programs must be created and implemented to continually develop and test twenty-first century instructional models (Hammond, 2006).  The latter stages of the five-year plan will center on increasing and evaluating the candidates’ application skills in the classroom and measuring the resulting student proficiencies.
However, the initial and formative undertakings will first include the collaborative research and collection of data that can address the following issues.

  1. The 21st century knowledge and skills and themes students will need and practice to succeed in academia, the workforce, society, and life (Hammond, 2006). 

  2. The critical knowledge and skills found in efficacious educators in the 21st century (Hammond, 2006). 

  3. The essential attributes of college programs that produce effective educators for the new millennia (Hammond, 2006).   

  4. The components of the “new age” curriculum to prepare pre-service teachers to successfully address the learning needs of students (Hammond, 2006).  

  5. Strategies to align teacher training with twenty-first century standards, a common curriculum, and performance-based assessments (Hammond, 2006).   The critical knowledge and skills found in efficacious educators in the 21st century

  6. Strategies to increase connectivity between pre-service candidates and teacher experts worldwide (National Public Education Support Fund, 2016).

  7. Tactics to ensure a closer nexus between higher education, local schools, and economic development (National Public Education Support Fund, 2016).

Accountability is a critical component in current learning and teaching environments (Killion, 2008).  Evaluations, as such, are essential components in any professional learning program. Evaluations of the initial phase can be formulated to assess the stakeholders’ reactions to the program.  Intermediate phase evaluations will gauge the instructors’ advances in knowledge and skills (Killion, 2008). Later, as the program progresses through the implementation phase in classrooms these evaluations will measure the effect on the institutions (universities and local schools), on the practice of new skills and conceptual understandings (in universities and later local school classrooms) and on teacher behaviors and student achievement.

However, in order to evaluate the initial activity of criteria creation, I would facilitate the collaboration of a representative group of stakeholders to create a research project.  The goal is to identify collect, curate, interpret and record critical twenty-first century learning and teaching criteria. This data would be gathered from a variety of sources including, but not limited to peer-reviewed, scholarly articles, research-based studies, and interviews with experts from educational (including teachers and students) as well as gleaning input from corporate fields.  For example, the eventuating rubrics, checklists, and other rating devices would include twenty-first century skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, communication and creativity. It would also reference the close-knot, sequential, reiterative nature of planned college curriculums, which are accompanied by abundant field experiences (Hammond, 2006).  Additionally, the criteria would also include strategies that address the needs of diverse learners such as the gifted, English Language Learners and the physically and emotionally challenged. Moreover, it would serve to gauge the depth and breadth of the presented content (P21 Partnership for 21st Century Learning., n.d).   Finally, the evaluative criteria would judge the merits of the alignment of teacher training with twenty-first century standards, curriculum, and assessments.

After the initial charter is agreed upon a series of formative evaluations will be collected at intermittent junctures.  These evaluations will include the reactions and self-assessments of teacher candidates, and university curriculum directors.  Formats will include Likert-scale surveys, interviews, and open-ended questionnaires.  Afterwards, as teacher candidates graduate and find classroom placements, data will be continually collected as they implement their twenty-first century knowledge and skills in practical settings. At the end of the five year period a summative assessment and formal report will be issued complete with quantitative and qualitative data.

More precisely, following implementation, the success of intermediate goals will be evaluated with teacher interviews, the scrutinizing of plan books, classroom observations, and wide-ranging formative assessments of students, which will include project-work, daily work, tests, and portfolio artifacts. The final goal will be evaluated by assessing the degree that the model assets have been inculcated into the university’s teacher preparation program as well as examining students’ performance on formative and summative exams in local schools.

In conclusion, in order to invest twenty-first century knowledge and skills into the curriculum of teacher preparation programs, education leaders must first present a clear, shared, research-based vision in the form of an action plan.  This framework should be well thought-out, logically planned, and likely to produce the intended results.  The plan should, in fact, include the following advantages. First, it should incorporate short- and long-term goals.  These targets must be expressed in terms that are specific, measureable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound (Killion, 2008).  The plan should then describe the activities and their timeframes as well as the involved stakeholders.  Finally, it should describe how the program will be evaluated both in formative and in summative renditions.







Hammond, L. (2006). Constructing 21st century teacher education.   Retrieved from

Killion, J. (2008). Assessing impact: Evaluating staff development (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks,
CA: Corwin

National Public Education Support Fund. (2016). Singapore and shanghai.  Retrieved from

P21 Partnership for 21st Century Learning. (n.d). Retrieved from 

Dede, C. (2009). Comparing frameworks for 21st century skills. Retrieved from