Teach Middle East Magazine Jan-Feb 2018 Issue 3 Volume 5 - Page 32

Sharing Good Practice PREPARING STUDENTS FOR A WORLD THAT DOESN’T YET EXIST BY GEORGE STOKES B y 2030, up to 800 million of today’s jobs could be replaced by automated technology, according to a recent study by McKinsey Global Institute. They predict that a fifth of the world’s work force will be affected. Whether this results in a global job shortage or whether a host of new jobs will be created is unknown. However, one thing is for sure, adaptability is going to be key, in a world that is changing exponentially. some extensive research on this topic, which we can draw upon. In his book ‘The Global Achievement Gap’ Tony Wagner uncovered 7 survival skills required for the 21st century: Preparing students for the unknown is not a new phenomenon unique to educators of today, but the rapid advances in technology, do place extra emphasis on our education system, to keep up with the world around it. Could the educators of 20 years ago have known that so much of our world today would be based around technology? Could they have predicted what skills would be needed in the job market today? It seems unlikely, yet they had to do their best to prepare their students for this world anyhow. Nowadays, educators still face the same challenge, so where do we begin? • Initiative and entrepreneurialism A good place to start would be to examine the qualities that humans possess, that cannot be replicated by computers. Luckily, there has been 30 | Jan - Feb 2018 | | • Critical solving thinking and problem • Collaboration across networks and leading by influence • Agility and adaptability • Effective oral communication and written • Accessing and analysing information • Curiosity and imagination The Partnership for 21st Century Learning; summarised these skills into a succinct framework called ‘The 4C’s ‘, standing for Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, and Creativity. Since then, these 21st Century Learning Skills have been the topic of great debate amongst the teaching community. Many futurists predict that in a world that is changing exponentially, the skills within the 4C’s framework should be prioritised over knowledge. Educators on this side of the fence question why our students should invest their energy in learning various facts that they can search for Class Time in seconds? After all, we now live in the information age. On the other side of the argument, there are the educators who argue that these skills have always been a requirement and are nothing new. These teachers point to the fact that without knowledge, these skills become less powerful. They believe that as educators, we have constantly strived to prepare our students for the ‘real world’ that exists around them. They argue that if we focus on the key aspects such as learning how to read, write, and calculate. Then, the less tangible skills such as working in a team, thinking critically, and being curious will naturally follow as a by- product. As usually is the case, I think the answer lies somewhere in between these two points of view. I would suggest that we focus on understanding and wisdom, rather than knowledge. This subtle change in phrasing is important because, although you can gain knowledge in seconds, it takes experience and practice to gain true understanding of a subject. As the old saying goes, “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it into a fruit salad”. (Continued on page 32)