Lolette Smith, visual arts and culture educator at Our Lady of Fatima Dominican Convent School, shares her vision of young people not just thriving in the future world of work – but having fun doing it.
Parents expect schools to be competent providers – not just for helping their children accumulate knowledge, but to prepare them for a profitable and fulfilling career. But, that is no longer as simple as it used to be. We are, without a doubt, living in a time of disruption – from geopolitics, climate change, issues caused by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and notwithstanding, the tail end of Covid. There is no more one-size-fits-all in the field of education – and not if we want the next generation to be exceptional, to thrive rather than just survive.
We need to anticipate disruptive change and prepare for it. We need adaptive intelligence if we are going to keep up with and become innovators in education. As Darwin said, It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change. The fact is that today’s students need adaptive intelligence if they are to become tomorrow’s innovators.
Career choices are not what they used to be. Across all industries, the global workforce will need to provide new, innovative solutions to ongoing, old problems. Cate Swinburn, a guest author for GettingSmart, makes a salient point: The growth of automation and artificial intelligence will continue to reorient our economy as millions navigate the job market.
But what if our current learning institutions are not that up to date? What if they are not ahead of the curve enough to help learners to successfully navigate in the ever-changing landscape that defines the new world of work? What if, in reality, they are making our children less intelligent and adaptable?
Are education curricula re-imagining the classroom not simply by moving chairs and tables, but by utilising a variety of both physical and virtual spaces both within and outside the school? There is an urgent need for preparedness via a more robust educational experience.
As careers adapt to the future freelance economy, students need an education paradigm shift if they want to be relevant. They need to learn how to rapidly apply their skills to a variety of situations using creative intelligence rather than academic intelligence.
Schools have become increasingly aware of the power of technology as a teaching tool. But for the students, technology is not just a tool, it is a “limb”, an extension of their very being. With so many advances in technology, it will soon be possible to live and experience life in 3D augmented reality. As a result of this easy access to knowledge, students are increasingly taking ownership of what and how they learn. Are our schools adapting to this? Do educators know how to create a personalised learning environment in which each student can seize every opportunity that comes their way and show their individual solution to the problem?
Schools need to be intentional about how they teach creativity; it’s about the capacity to think creatively and make new connections, generate diverse ideas, and be comfortable with ambiguity. There is a need to refine a set of core capabilities that equip children to navigate the evolving learning landscape. The current learning system needs to be repackaged into a new coherence of curated innovation and design. As we leverage these capabilities, new learning pathways are developed.
Education that encourages transdisciplinary research which serves curiosity is on the starting block of advocating a higher form of intelligence – creative intelligence. Students in these future-oriented education facilities will emerge prepared for challenges, equipped to innovate solutions, and most importantly, enjoy and have fun doing so.