I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past. ~ Thomas Jefferson
Thank you to fellow Blogger, Louise Behiel, for reminding me of this important topic and thus, inspiring this post.
What is our children’s future going to look like? Our world is changing at a frightening speed, mostly with the advent of technology. When I cop are the world I grew up in with the world of today, nothing seems the same…. I had a rotary phone, 13 channel TV we had to change by hand, record player (yes cassettes were not yet out), and the only communication between my friends and I during non school hours involved us getting on our feet or hopping on a bicycle and physically transporting ourselves to the friend’s home to speak (no cellphones yet, sorry). My girls would not know what to do, as most things that take up their time today did not even exist back then. (Thankfully they do read, jump rope, and ride scooters, to there are at least a few similarities).
However, what can I say, what can I do, to give them what they need to enter the world and be a productive adult? I realize that I cannot in any way predict the world my daughters will enter even ten years from now. I have no idea what the economic situation will be, how many jobs will be outsourced to countries with workers who will work for less, or what skills they will need. I do not know what new fields will be available and what current fields will still exist, or exist in modified or evolved forms.
As an educator, these questions weigh heavily on my mind, as I am not only concerned about my own daughters, but about all the students whose lives I am involved in on a daily basis.
As I have challenged myself to think about answers to this question…. I have come up with two skills I believe I MUST impart to my daughters and other young people who I work with. I believe that the two skills we need to cultivate in our young people are creativity and adaptability. These will be highly critical in our ever-changing world and workforce. In fact, many companies are already acknowledging this and some are stating their desire to hire creative staff members. They understand that the ability to think outside the box, to view problems in new ways, to offer solutions no one else has thought about, will be necessary to keep their own businesses adapting and changing to the world.
The irony is that schools today have not fully adapted to our changing world. Many top individuals who are speaking out on education, such as Sir Ken Robinson, are pointing out that schools indeed kill creativity, instead of cultivate it. He explains that, while our society has evolved, our schools and the way we educate our students have not evolved to keep up with the world we live in. His arguments are compelling, and I agree with them. What frustrates me is that we have an understanding of the problem, but have not yet worked out the solution.
I often challenge myself to think about how we need to adapt our schools in order to prepare our students for the world they are going to enter. How are we going to nurture creativity and foster adaptability? How are we going to stop our current system from destroying the skills that are arguably the most necessary skills of tomorrow?
Today, 304 days ’til 40, I am going to continue to challenge myself and others to find ways to appropriately prepare our children for the world they will inherit. I want to know that I am doing my part to ensure that their future, and the future of our world, will be as big and bright as possible.