Chances are you won’t read Educating for the 21st Century: Perspectives, Policies and Practices from Around the World.
It’s a scholarly book, thick with macro and country-specific perspectives on teaching today, plus “granular/classroom based approaches to what it means to educate in our complex, technological, interconnected world.” Contributors hail from Japan, Singapore, Kuwait, China, Finland, South Korea, Australia and the US.
Fifty Shades of Grey it ain’t.
But if you curl up by the fire with this 490-page, $119 tome, you’ll find Chapter 10 fascinating.
That’s the thinly disguised alias of Westport.
Our district’s inclusion in the book is not happenstance. One reason is that one of the 4 editors is Deb Sawch. An independent education consultant and faculty member of Columbia University’s Teachers College, she spent 3 years as a Staples High School English instructor (after beginning her career in the private sector).
Sawch is married to Staples alumnus Chris Sawch. Their kids are Staples grads too.
The 2nd reason that
Westfield Westport is featured in the book is that our school district is doing some pretty noteworthy stuff, 21st-century-education-wise.
Sawch knows all about it. Through Teachers College, she’s been involved with “Westport 2025.” The K-12 initiative — launched in 2010, with 65 teachers and administrators — aims to develop students’ critical thinking, creative, communication and problem-solving skills.
Non-cognitive (emotional) skills, including ethical thinking, have since been added to the program.
“Westport is a forward-thinking district,” Sawch explains. “Educators here really want to share ideas about what it means to be a fully engaged global citizen.”
Our town’s journey through that 2025 initiative is at the heart of Chapter 10.
Sawch’s book has taken several years to edit. Re-reading it today, she realizes the importance of the role of educated, interconnected citizens. “There’s no going back now,” she says.
Sawch recently returned from Singapore, where she gave a presentation about collaboration by international students.
On December 13 she gives another talk — this one at nearby Sacred Heart University.
All over the world — from Asia to
Westfield Westport — Deb Sawch is educating all of us for the 21st century.