Transcript of redesigning learning and teaching: A case for change

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A generation ago, young people leaving school found jobs more easily and stayed in them for longer. Now, finding a job is tough and keeping one is even tougher. In the 20th century, your average employee held down jobs for long periods of time in one or two fields. Upon graduation students at school can expect to have 17 different employers in their lifetime in five different career types. That means schooling is high stakes, but also that the game has changed. Schools need to help students become critical thinkers, problem solvers and entrepreneurs. The kind of flexible, resilient and socially aware people who can chart their own course in a rapidly changing world. But students cannot learn skills like entrepreneurship sat back in their chair. To learn the lessons they need for the 21st century, students need not just to be listening and behaving, but excited and engaged. Engagement in learning and spoiling is a significant predictor of academic achievement and increased and job and life outcomes later in life. Schools must find ways to keep young people engaged to develop a lifelong love of learning that will follow them on any path they choose to explore.

Is our current school model designed to develop and engage these lifelong learners? The short answer is no.

In a world where employers are creating flexible working opportunities, why is it that schooling often only occurs between nine and three in the same building. And in a world where technology is affording young people with incredible opportunities to learn anytime, anywhere and in their own way, why is it that we continue to focus on learning content in environments that don’t respond to a full range of learner needs? If we want learners to be equipped with the skills to learn, what they do at school has to be worthy of their time and attention. A one size fits all approach is currently fitting very few. Future focused schools know this and a challenging tightly held beliefs about what learning and schooling looks like. They are finding new ways to teach and measure the things that really matter.

In order to overcome the obstacles faced by today’s learners, all teachers and school leaders need support to design the kind of learning that has meaning and relevance to each learner. Doesn’t just achieve good test scores, but also excites and interests learners. Provides the right amount of stretch for each learner. Understands the social and emotional wellbeing of learners and acknowledges the role of young people as meaningful contributors to the local and global community around them. But schools can’t take this on alone. Students, parents and communities need to be part of this change too. Future focused schools around the world are already showing it can be done differently with outstanding outcomes. We all have the responsibility to provide our young people with the best possible preparation to be successful global citizens. How are you going to help them make that future a reality?

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