We have two options on how to come out of this forced educational lockdown that many around the world are experiencing. Firstly, we can view this as an inconvenience, and simply hope to return to our old way of schooling as soon as we are allowed. Secondly, we can see it as the perfect opportunity to reform a system that is outdated and begging for a change.
Although many will say “yes let’s go for the second option”, we must understand that for the last 200 years, we have been entrenched in a system that is quite comfortable for governments, schools and even parents. The voices shouting for change are employers and students, who don’t understand why we keep working in an outdated system which cannot produce the human resources we need. These voices are telling educators that they need to embrace technology, skill development and community learning if we want to succeed today and in the future.
Can we do it? Yes, we can. We need to be brave in our endeavours to alter the current paradigm, and trust that educators, school and parents will perform their role in improving education together with the overall learning experience of our students. For too long we have used standardized testing and the knowledge system as the only indicators of our children’s intelligence and school success.
The truth is that all children are unique and cannot be seen as a collective when we know that for success today and tomorrow our children will need to be adaptable, creative thinkers, resilient and empowered to be able to learn new skills over and over again during their lifetime. Our children do not come with instruction manuals that tell us how to teach them or what their interests, talents or passions are. All we know is that they all have different aptitudes and interests and if we give them a base to lift off from then the sky’s the limit.
So how do we go about preparing our children accordingly?
Well, many schools are adapting their educational models to be more flexible to the students’ needs, but it’s difficult and at many times a struggle as many find this change difficult and don’t want to embrace it
Others are working with unschooling or home schooling, but like most successful things in life, common sense and balance using a Hybrid Model taking the best of online together with the best of offline could be the right answer.
Many new trends are coming to the fore especially for elementary school age of 13 which is great as we stop to. We personally believe that the crucial focus should be on our children from the age of 12 till the end of secondary as this is where we can create the most impact.
Once this age group is empowered to use technology, encouraged to engage in peer-to-peer learning and given different real-world experiences, then they tend to simply flourish. Education is a mix of having the best in knowledge, experience, and skill learning. Education is also not just mathematics, science and other traditional subjects but also Art, Culture and Sport. Life experience is also an educational experience that happens right in front of you and should always be encouraged by letting children try different interests.
All these subjects and interests are important, and students should be encouraged to write their own life manuals, where they follow their interests and use their own amazing talents to shape their future. As educators, it should be our responsibility to encourage and foster this environment so that children are able to thrive and be prepared for a future that we may never see but they will most likely live in.
The future needs to ensure that we let children write their own futures, as we will need all types of creative adults who will become doctors, lawyers, bloggers, tattooists, software engineers, nurses, firemen and one of the thousands of new jobs which will come from the ashes of dying jobs.
In the end though we need humans that are happy and are experiencing joy, because they are doing what they found out they are equipped and longing to do at that point in time of their lives. They then also have the confidence and attitude to adapt themselves when needed to do new things. As the world keeps changing, so do they.
Education has to be changed!
It’s too important for us to simply ignore it because we are comfortable and believe others will do it. Educators, governments, teachers, communities, and most importantly parents, need to take charge and be brave enough to give our children a new model which will provide them the opportunity for success tomorrow and in life.