Last month, the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) released The New Work Smarts report that revealed growing concerns about young Australians not being adequately prepared for their futures.
While it is impossible to forecast where tomorrow’s technology and its concomitant skills demand will lead the next generation, we do know that globalisation, flexibility, automation and robotics will have more influence over determining how jobs are performed, and what jobs are required into the future (FYA, 2017).
This indicates that students must be much more flexible, innovative and resilient, not only in the context of developing entrepreneurial skills, but also, more importantly, in their development into strong, adaptable human beings (Shaw, 2017).
Chief Executive of the Australian Council for Educational Research, Greg Masters, suggests we need to be much smarter about the school curriculum in order to equip students for a significantly changed and continually evolving world. Many features of the school curriculum have, however, remained unchanged for decades (Masters, 2015). Truly modern schooling must cultivate the traditional 3Rs — reading, writing and arithmetic — along with the more recently identified 4Cs — critical reflection, creativity, collaboration and communication (Anderson, 2017).
Educators need to design curricula carefully so that our students are:
- critical, empathetic and inventive thinkers
- using human-centred design processes to be makers, designers, artists and engineers
- applying mathematics and science skills in a much broader way, using advanced technology
- employing technical skills in an increasingly enterprising way
- technology-savvy innovators who can also effectively communicate ideas with others and respond positively to change
- effective verbal and non-verbal collaborators who can negotiate, pitch, persuade and unpack ethical dilemmas
- visual-spatial learners, able to scale and visually sketch and prototype solutions
- passionately entrepreneurial.
The job of teachers is to foster these skills. Renowned researcher, John Seely Brown, suggests the key is ensuring students play with knowledge..read more