Will our students be FUTURE READY?
How important is this question? Naturally, no one would say that this query is unimportant. However, our world today makes the answer to our students' readiness highly relevant.
Presently, our world is experiencing massive change in virtually every sector. This change is being driven by human ingenuity and invention. Our competitiveness, within the global marketplace, is being challenged by thriving economies in Asia and elsewhere. But, as educators, we must ask the question, "What are we doing to prepare students for the "World of Massive Change"? In order to remain relevant, schools in today's world must equip students with skills that go beyond the basics of academic excellence.
Dr. Canton, a renowned futurist and CEO of The Institute for Global Futures, as well as a Fortune 1000, advisor, gives ten trends that are shaping the creative economy. Trend number eight concerns education. Canton believes that the educational system today is broken and is not preparing students to be "FUTURE READY".
The current model of education was designed to service an age that has passed us by - the Industrial Age. The focus of the Industrial Age school system was conformity, compliance and meeting standards. On the other hand, the present Creative Age is being fueled by innovation and creativity, highly sought after characteristics, yet hard to find and even harder to develop.
At PLI schools the FUTURE READINESS of our students is not a future hope, but a CURRENT REALITY.
FUTURE READY 7 Habits
At PLI we have identified 12 essential skills to be Future Ready. The Seven Habits of the Master Learner are designed to be integrated into the elementary experience starting in Kindergarten. By the time the students reach junior and senior high, they are introduced to the 5 Keys of the iCubed Life™.
At the core of PLI's mission to prepare students to become FUTURE READY are the Seven Habits of the Master Learner. They include:
1. Person of Character
The values that we uphold and live by are at the core of our character - the very heart of who we are. These values include honesty, integrity, faithfulness, trustworthiness, consistency, and kindness. Character development is both taught and caught. At schools of Profound Learning, character development is foundational to our mission of developing Master Learners. All of the other core characteristics of being "Future Ready" must be built on a solid foundation of character.
2. Quality Producer
In the Industrial Age, quality was viewed as the competitive advantage. However, in the World of Massive Change, quality is the expected norm. Because of this, schools of Profound Learning teach students to consistently meet and go beyond quality standards—in other words, to be a quality producer. Academic excellence is the starting point; not the end objective.
Realistically, we live in a consumer-driven world, which drives many of our lifestyle choices and has created a sense of entitlement with many of our youth. Typically, in education, students have been consumers of their learning. On the other hand, producers are creators and risk-takers. To become "Future Ready" students must learn how to be producers and not just consumers of the learning they receive in school.
3. Life-Long Learner
In the last 15-20 years, the world has shifted from a philosophy of continuous improvement to continuous innovation. Continuous innovation can only be sustained and fueled by continuous learning. Students must acquire a love of learning, which is fundamental to their future success. Intrinsic motivation towards learning is created when students take ownership of their learning, and therefore achieve success in the process.
At PLI, we have shifted our focus from consuming learning to producing our learning as a knowledge-worker. Establishing the right mindset is immensely important, yet one of the more difficult things to measure.
4. Collaborative Worker
Collaboration at a global level has become an indispensable strategy. Through our licensed arrangement with a world leader in creative processes, the MG Taylor Corporation, we expose our students to advanced collaborative processes. The Centers for Transformation are designed by the MGTaylor Corp., to accommodate collaboration.
5. Independent Worker
Massive shifts have taken place in how people work. Years ago, the workplace was centralized around a building, either the factory or the office. Today, the workplace is much more distributed, with many people now operating out of their virtual offices at home. Modern communication technologies enable this distributed workforce to be highly engaged and effective. This requires a person to be an independent worker who can manage their priorities and produce results based on individual goals.
At schools of Profound Learning, individual goal-setting and self-reliance are bedrock competencies that are introduced to the very youngest students in Kindergarten.
6. Complex Thinker
Creative and critical thinking are two distinctly different processes, both of which are needed in order to thrive in the World of Massive Change. Critical thinking is largely a left-brain function that involves analyzing and breaking down a problem into its parts. Creative thinking is primarily a right-brain function that involves the synthesis of new ideas or possibilities, which is what innovation is all about.
Alarmingly, studies have shown that the longer a person stays in school, the harder it becomes for them to innovate and create. To help counteract this trend, students are asked to go beyond curricular or content benchmarks adding their own creativity to every project. Design-based learning experiences enable students to engage with the world of design and begin to design their world.
7. Principle-Centred Leadership
Leadership for the 21st century takes on an entirely different role. In today's rapidly changing world, leaders need to embrace uncertainty, work collaboratively and engage in innovative design.
At schools of Profound Learning, we have introduced the concept of future by design ... not by default, where students become leaders of change and designers of the future. In doing so, they are building the confidence they need to take responsibility for the emerging world of their generation. This kind of leadership has to be rooted in a principle-centred value system that honours people and relationships.