Thursday, January 19th, 2017
Life is becoming increasingly less predictable. While unpredictability is already problematic for many, for future generations there are no signs of things calming. If we accept that the role of education is to furnish our children with the best understanding, skills and values for a prosperous and happy life, then how do we arm them for a future that we can’t imagine? Do we even need knowledge in a world of Alexa and Siri? Is the skill of agility now more valuable than the gaining of knowledge?
We’ve prioritised the acquisition of knowledge around what we assume society would deem most “worthy”. This value has, however, eroded over the years. The changing world means that we need to prepare kids in a totally different way. A 5-year-old today will enter a working world in 2030 that is so incomprehensible that we need an existential re-imagination of the very foundation of education.
Our vision for the future needs to include more imagination. The digital age means a different world.
For kids growing up today, let alone tomorrow, we’re living in a world where we outsource knowledge and skills to the Internet. Kids will struggle to communicate if they can’t spell at all, but when spell-checkers auto translate and software handles voice-to-text, maybe it’s not something to take up much time. Maths and the logic from it is essential, but perhaps we need to think of it more philosophically.
These are things to question, rather than easy changes to make. The future is less about what to remove, but rather what to refocus on. If we foster creativity, fuel curiosity and help people relate via relationships and empathy, then we empower kids to be totally self-reliant. They will be agile: adaptable to change in a world that we can’t yet foresee.
Summing-up: We don’t need to change everything now, but we do need to start forgetting the assumptions that we have made. The future is more uncertain than ever, but we need to make our kids as balanced, agile, and as self-reliant as ever in order to thrive in it.