© Guardian photo
P.E.I. Teachers' Federation president Gilles Arsenault, left, talks to Jeffrey Wilhelm before the latter's keynote speech at the federation's annual convention Thursday.
The problems kids face are growing and it's up to educators to teach them with a sense of urgency for problem solving, says the keynote speaker at this P.E.I. Teachers' Federation convention.
Jeffrey Wilhelm, an education professor at Boise State University, said things have changed and children face issues that are global.
"The yardstick of success is no longer proven by national standards, but the best performing education systems globally leading to flexible individual achievement in a radically changing world," he said.
Wilhelm was one of the first speakers at the annual convention that sees teachers from across the province gather in Charlottetown for two days of professional development sessions.
His background includes authoring or co-authoring 24 books about literacy and literacy education.
Wilhelm is also the founding director of the Boise State Writing Project that supports more than 1,000 teachers every year with professional development.
During his speech, Wilhelm said he thought educators were aiming too low when it comes to education.
"When we're not we're under articulating what it is we're doing," he said.
Wilhelm said his research looked at changing curriculum as a problem to be solved so kids will be engaged in thinking the way scientists, mathematicians or other people do to solve problems.
That research turned into what he called a study of wisdom because every teacher he studied was teaching for something bigger, he said.
"Every one of them professed that teaching is relational, that it occurs in a relationship between a teacher and her students and between the students themselves."
Wilhelm also said there is a relationship between the students and the material they are learning.
He ended his speech by saying the tragedy of education is that it could easily be different and better for everyone.
"Even under current constraints," he said.
Wilhelm said P.E.I. has very good standards, but it's a matter of how they will be implemented.
"That's where the rubber hits the road and that's where you (teachers) make things happen," he said.