Sunday, September 10, 2017

Thriving in ambiguous and uncertain times

If you are a regular reader to my blog you will know that I've made several posts this week about the future of learning based on reading I've downloaded from the KnowledgeWorks website.  Previous posts have speculated on what the future of work might look like, so for this post I want to dig a little deeper into what education might look like in order to prepare students for these possible futures.

  • More emphasis on teaching social and emotional skills - these will be vital for success in the emerging workplace.
  • The nurturing of visions and passions - K-12 education should support self-discovery.
  • Bringing ambiguity and uncertainty to the classroom - to prepare students for work tasks that will likely be vague and approachable through multiple solution pathways.  Students will need to strengthen their abilities to ask questions and to seek help.  Learning activities need to become less prescriptive so that students will build their skills to navigate ambiguity.
  • More cognitive diversity and flexible thinking - future work will involve decision-making and problem-solving, creativity and innovation.  Students will need to recognize and appreciate diverse perspectives in order to be successful collaborators.
  • Using technology to enhance human capacity and facilitate deeper thinking - as people will increasingly need to use technology that augments human strengths, teachers should design learning engagements that use technology to push higher-order analysis, synthesis and generative thinking.
  • Redefining success - there will need to be a move away from traditional notions of success that are linked to mastering specific skills and knowledge, and a move towards new kinds of context-dependent skills and knowledge.  Educators need to focus on assessing how students combine continual learning and reskilling with social-emotional development.
  • More emphasis on reflection - which also implies that students also need more agency in setting goals.
  • Teacher training that has social-emotional intelligence at its centre - research shows that social-emotional skills are more predictive of success and adaptation than intellectual skills.  Teachers need to be trained in how to ask meaningful, respectful questions that help students' curiosity to unfold and confidence to grow.
  • Partnerships that engage students in experiential and project-based learning, possibly bringing on-board out-of-school learning providers.
The report states, "In many K-12 environments, responding to these opportunities will mean rethinking how learning is structured and organized; how resources such as time, technology and people are allocated to create meaningful learning opportunities; how learning is assessed and progress tracked; how space is used; and how educators are supported in modelling reflective learning and aspirational personal development."

This year I'm part of the Visioning Task Force at ASB.  Our big question this week was: Based on who we are, where we are, and what we know about the future of education and the future of work places, what do we need to and want to become?  This is a year-long task force and I'll be blogging about my thinking and about our ideas regularly.

Photo Credit:  image found via CC Search - Hall Art Foundation

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