and read this.
Erica McWilliam is Author in Residence at Brisbane Girls Grammar School for 2012. She and Professor Peter Taylor penned this piece, inspired in part by their visit to Zurich International School’s ‘innovateZIS Think Tank‘ conference held in March this year. I’ve had the pleasure of listening to Erica speak on a couple of occasions now and find her insightful, with a no nonsense approach to the challenges facing education today. I’d highly recommend you read, The Creative Workforce: How to launch young people into high flying futures, her 2008 publication. I read it a couple of years ago and it helped shape my thinking about what we as educators need to be doing to help our young people succeed in what is a vastly different workforce compared to the one many of us entered 20 or so years ago.
I applaud Brisbane Girls Grammar School for publishing this piece on their site. There’s more than a hint of bravery in publishing a piece for your community that begins with the following two paragraphs;
For some time now it has been obvious that middle class kids are becoming more vulnerable. This is so despite the fact that they may be living in nice homes with supportive parents and attending well resourced schools and having comforts that their Third World counterparts can only dream of. They are vulnerable because learning is not personally significant to them. Kids who learn to avoid the discomfort of unfamiliar ideas, who do not welcome the instructive complications of error, who think learning is a boring necessity because it is basically about preparing for tests, who are reliant on parents and teachers to tell them what to do, or to do it for them, who expect university degrees to be passports to employability and financial security – such kids are now in real trouble.
We are not suggesting that there is any intention on the part of the caring adults in their lives to do kids out of a rich and rewarding future – indeed, the contrary is much more likely to be true. The problem is that global transformations have made a nonsense of the scripts we still invest in to prepare young people for their living, learning and earning futures. There is no point in preparing them for a twentieth century future by relying on the rules for social advancement that worked for us back then. Put bluntly, it is not just unhelpful – it is downright dangerous.
If that opening doesn’t make you want to read on, I don’t know what will. Like I said, do yourself a favour…