If there’s something I’m pretty sure of, it’s that the structure of school is difficult to change. Hopefully we will see some shifts in how we organise the day for our students, providing opportunities for our older students to learn in anytime, anywhere, virtual scenarios and giving them greater autonomy over their learning to prepare them well for university and working life. But for our younger students, I don’t see the organisational framework of school changing anytime soon. Let’s face it, people need to send their children somewhere during the day, and schools are the best fit and will continue to be that for some time to come.
What’s different is the kind of workplaces the students we teach will find themselves in at the end of their school or university lives. This is happening already, and the infographic above* outlines the changing scenario well. Just because the environment we work in as teachers is one that finds it more difficult to morph to this model, doesn’t mean that it is an unlikely notion for the students sitting in our classrooms right now.
We need to understand this. We need to comprehend the workplace of the future (in some cases, the workplace of the now) and help our students develop skills that will enable them to adjust to this when they branch out and try to make a living for themselves. I see people on Twitter question whether or not it is our responsibility to help our students become ‘job ready’. I contend that it is. While we may not be priming them for specific careers, we do need to be thinking seriously about the skills we can be fostering in classrooms today that will be beneficial for a working life scenario like that proposed above for the future employee.
* Infographic from Jacob Morgan’s book, ” The Future of Work: Attract New Talent, Build Better Leaders, and Create a Competitive Organization.“
Last Friday, after watching Kevin Allocca’s video about why some videos go viral, I had a discussion with my class that went something like this.
If there is one thing you take from this class this year, it is this. Don’t wait for someone to green light something that you want to do. If you’re passionate about something, if you have an idea, if you want to pursue an interest, don’t wait for permission. We live in a world where you can start something if you have the wherewithal and desire to follow it through. Your parents might not like me saying this, but I’m not convinced that the only path to success is waiting for the credentials you get from a University education. I’m pretty sure that employers are going to be looking for people who have demonstrated that they think outside the square and know how to go about making things happen. You don’t need a green light – you can start now.
In fact, thinking on it, it was a bit of a short lecture rather than a discussion. It was the end of the lesson and they were wanting to head out to recess… but, they did listen intently, and maybe they did take it in.
I hope so, because I think it’s advice worth taking.
(And below is Kevin’s video, where he talks about green lighting at the end of his TED talk.)
Make sure you click through every one of Ayelet Baron’s slides about the need to create a connected organisation for the 21st Century. When you do, think about where you work and whether or not leadership in your organisation is living on the edges to provision change.
If you’ve seen me present anywhere recently, you will know that I am fascinated with what it is we need to be doing to prepare our students for future working environments very different from the ones many of us (teachers of a certain age…) walked into.
For that matter, I envisage the profession of teaching and our classrooms of the future will look very different too. There is no room for “that’s not how we roll here” thinking.
(Slide 24, from Ayelet Baron)
I was reminded of this today when members of a school visited to see what it is we are doing with technology across our campus. At the end of our discussion one of the visitors said that he realised innovation was being stifled where they worked. They were worried about those resistant to change, rather than embracing change and working with resistant staff in the process.
It is challenging leading change. You’ve got to suck your breath in deep and and hold it. Every now and then you get to exhale and revel in both small and large victories. It’s not easy, but it is necessary, and worth it.