These days, music isn’t just for music class. At least, it shouldn't be.
Early middle school is an important transitional time in a young person’s academic life. “It bridges the gap between elementary school, where a child learns how to read and be a student, and high school, where [they] will take on the full responsibilities of being a young adult.” (Institute of Reading Development, 2019)
On February 2, 2021 NPR reported on the death of Anthony Orr. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Anthony missed all of the rites of passage that should have been the culmination of his senior year of high school. His parents said he seemed fine and happy, but in August of 2020, Anthony tragically took his own life.
When it comes to addressing 21st-century skills such as problem solving, decision making, and collaboration, students have been challenged by the virtual and hybrid learning environments. We know that students develop a broader skill set when engaging in real-world challenges. How to provide outside experiences that foster engagement and interest is the goal as we create a learning environment that enriches students’ development and skills.
The role of school is not purely academic learning—educators are focused on the whole child, or the idea of the academic and social-emotional needs of students. Research shows that a traditional academic model alone doesn’t prepare students for success in the information age. Embedding 21st-century skills as part of any curriculum helps prepare students for a modern world and workforce. Ranging from the ability to collaborate with others, to critical thinking, to creativity, 21st-century skills prepare students for a world where the jobs they will likely hold don’t yet exist or will drastically change with technological advances.