THE FUTURE OF WORK
HOW DO WE START PREPARING STUDENTS FOR THE FUTURE OF WORK TODAY?
I’m sure that by now, you’re probably familiar with the following statistics….
65% of current primary school children will end up with jobs that don’t yet currently exist?
85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 have not yet been imagined
50% of current jobs will be automated by computers and robots
Ok, but what do we do with these stats?
Changing work landscapes and redistribution of workers is nothing new, the biggest issue facing us at the moment is the disparity between the pace of change in education in comparison to the pace of change in the work place and how we live.
The current traditional education system that was born as a response to the original Industrial Revolution with a one-size-fits-all approach to education is no longer sufficient to meet the needs of our growing knowledge economy or the 4th Industrial Revolution that we have now entered.
If we compare the role of a worker in the 1st Industrial Revolution to that of an employee of today, not only the role and responsibilities but the environment, technology and ecosystem within which they operate are completely different. Yet, three subsequent Industrial Revolutions later and we still insist on using the same system to educate the generation of tomorrow as we did the generation of yesterday.
“If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow” – John Dewey
We have become dependent on measuring individuals perceived capabilities through subject-based standardised testing. Whilst it maybe the cheapest and most straightforward method of assessment, we are doing students a disservice as this testing gives little valuable insight into a student’s modern workplace skills such as critical thinking, communication, problem-solving cultural awareness, negotiating, collaboration, resilience, creativity – the list goes on.
What can we do to change this?
It is well known that large, historic institutions are difficult organisms to implement change within due to levels of procedure and bureaucracy. However with stats like we shared at the start of this post, it is hard to not feel a sense of urgency to change the ‘way it’s always been done’.
It will take time for decision to be made, new curriculum to be passed and for changes to trickle-down. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t act now.
We believe that there is a mistruth in the narrative of the future of education and the key stakeholders who are included in the conversation. The responsibility can not fall solely to the teachers. On the contrary, this forms the crux of our proposition of steps that can be taken as of now.
Our focus must shift from teacher-centred to student-centred learning. Rather that passively consuming information, we need students to be actively contributing. We have to start teaching future generations that education it is not always about knowing the answer. The most important thing is knowing what to do when they don’t know the answer.
We need to breed a culture of curiosity, questioning and individuals who aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo because they trust that innovation lies on the other side of ‘the way it has always been done’.
We must create environments in which students feel empowered to put forward (non-curriculum) points of discussion and communicate and collaborate with one another. Environments in which it is ok to the answer wrong and to be allowed to try again in search of a better and more creative solution.
We envisage a future whereby schools become base station for learning, a space where students spend some of their time, gathering new knowledge and information. In addition to this though, students need to be taken out of their incubators and connected with the real-world, with real people, to develop relationships and communication skills beyond that with friends and teachers.
We are not proposing that traditional teaching methods become obsolete. Instead, we allow education systems to evolve so that traditional methods become just one tool in a teacher’s toolkit and the classroom becomes just one of the environments that we use to nurture the generation of tomorrow.
This article only skims the surface of the conversation of how we prepare students for the future of work. We would love to hear from you and continue the conversation. Please feel free to comment below or get in touch with us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
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