Before we begin, if you have any answers, please share them.
I have read many views (like this one) on how we could satisfactorily prepare students for future employment, and it raises issues that most of us have probably thought about sometime in our career. My question is, however, do teachers really need to change how we teach? In other words, how suitable are our current methods, and are they still relevant and appropriate in preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs?
Adults have always had to teach children basic skills, from communicating, to looking after themselves, to becoming independent and self-sufficient. This has all been done with everyone fully aware of what the future will offer and what job prospects would be available. Nothing really changed that much. And then the twentieth century turned that all upside down, and things started changing on a daily basis. The 21st Century has not only continued that trend of new ways of working with new tools – but also new ways of thinking. The problem for teachers, as explained in the above link, is that we must try to prepare our pupils without possibly knowing what type of employment will be available to our students.
But does this really matter? Maybe we were never preparing our students for future jobs. What if what we were doing all along was making sure that our students have the skills, ability, and knowledge to continue learning and continue developing? What if not knowing what future careers may be available to the current generation is irrelevant to how we teach today? Of course, the actual topics and subject matter are important – but do we need to change the mechanisms of how we teach?
Does advances in technology, resulting in a different way of thinking & learning, mean that the way students are taught has to change?
I’d like to suggest that we still do a great job of preparing our students for their future, despite not knowing what choices they will have. As long as we can show our pupils that learning is constant throughout life, that change is useful, and that mistakes are valuable – they will be able to deal with any challenges that come their way. They will be suitable equipped to deal with life.
Want evidence? Look at teachers – most have never had training on Twitter, or experienced interactive whiteboards during their own education, or experienced real-time collaboration with colleagues from across the country (or world) – and yet, they are able to learn and take advantage of all these innovations to enhance their teaching. And what better way of showing kids how to prepare for their unknown future, then having teachers model it right before their eyes.
Image courtesy of Flickr, woodleywonderworks