Teach Middle East Magazine Jan-Feb 2018 Issue 3 Volume 5 - Page 34

Sharing Good Practice (Continued from page 30) Putney High School in England were in the news recently as they have taken the bold step of hiring an in-house entrepreneur to inspire students to start their own businesses because, so many traditional jobs will not exist in the future. They wish to encourage students to “blaze their own trail” rather than simply following well- trodden career paths. At SAFA British School, we have emulated this by opening our doors to our amazing parents. In Dubai, we are blessed with a community of parents who have a wide variety of interesting and successful career paths. As schools we would be foolish not to tap into this on behalf of our students. This term, I’ve been lucky enough to work with our gifted young students in an Enterprise club, designed to unlock their true potential. They’ve learnt the principles of entrepreneurship and used this to design a product for one of the EXPO 2020’s key themes: Opportunity, Sustainability or Mobility. The students came to life during the programme as they had the chance to put many of their 21st Century Skills into action. to formulate their own solutions. To practice this, we should provide students with situations where their existing skills, can be applied to solve problems with multiple solutions, as we do not want to teach students that there is only one answer available, but instead that problem-solving can be a creative and personal experience. Analysing information is an important part of critical thinking. Information has never been more readily available. It can be found at the click of a button, and now with advances in voice recognition tools such as Apple’s ‘Siri’ and Amazon’s ‘Echo’, we don’t even have to do that. This sudden and dramatic shift from a world with a limited amount and availability of information, to a world of information flux and glut, brings a new challenge. The skill for students is no longer finding information; it is being able to select the information that is relevant and credible. We cannot truly claim to have prepared our students for the world, unless they can question the reliability of the information they consume. Whether these skills can be taught, is up for debate, but teachers can create the circumstances in which they can be learnt. For example, to develop critical thinking skills, students will need to develop an ability to approach problems in a variety of different ways 32 | Jan - Feb 2018 | | Class Time When students begin school, they are naturally curious about the world and want to explore it. Their imaginations are vast and untamed, creating endless amounts of practical and impractical things. Our task as educators has less to do with teaching them how to be curious and imaginative, and more to do with not taking that away from them. We need to continue to encourage them to develop these skills, as well as teach them how to apply them creatively and purposefully. One way in which we can do this is by focusing on creating, instead of consuming. The internet is a vast expanse of resources. It’s easy to be a consumer, but students who are willing to be creators will be at a huge advantage because when students create their own learning content, they put into practice all of the skills outlined above. Clearly, in a world that is rapidly evolving, our students are going to need to be comfortable with the idea of change and be willing to adapt to the changes around them. We can help prepare them for this, by creating a dynamic environment within the classroom that can help to prepare students for the future. Varying the teaching strategies we use, the setup of the classroom, and the ways that students demonstrate learning, can keep them adaptable. Whenever I read about the future of work, many of the predictions are scary and suggest scenarios in which millions of talented people are unemployed. Yet if education is able to reform, many new jobs will be created in the process. Just as the education system adapted to meet the demands of the agricultural and industrial revolutions before, I’m confident that we can prepare the learners of today for the technological revolution of tomorrow. George is currently the Head of Innovation and Data at SAFA British School. Around two years ago, he built his own learning platform called Sharek, which is now widely used across the UAE. This year, George will be speaking at the JESS Innovation Summit, the GESS conference and the Edutech Middle East Conference.