Part of our Cash in on Learning series by Richard M. Cash, Ed.D. Click to read other Cash in on Learning posts.
As we cross the threshold into the second half of the second decade of the 21st century, our world continues to become more and more complex. Just think:
- The first iPad was released in the United States in 2010.
- Social media, like Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms, are less than twelve years old.
- E-readers, such as Kindle, were not available in 2006.
- YouTube was a “revolutionary” concept in 2005.
Jobs that didn’t exist five years ago that are now in big demand include:
- Search Engine Optimization Strategist
- Social Media Manager
- App Designer
- Content Developer
With all these changes happening, the role of a teacher also has to change dramatically. We can no longer be considered the font of all knowledge preparing students for the expected. Just the opposite, we need to be facilitators of learning, preparing children for the unexpected.
The Institute for the Future (IFTF) states that expanding globalization, smart machines, and advances in new medias are driving a reshaping of the skills necessary for success in the workforce of 2020 (only four years from now!).
According to IFTF:
- People are living longer, meaning there will be greater competition in the workforce of 2020.
- Technologies will be able to increase our capacities and extend our abilities, meaning that which can be automated will be automated, extinguishing repetitive labor.
- Computation and mathematics will be more in demand, meaning that data will be used to make our world more efficient and more complex.
- New communication tools will replace our current modes, meaning students will need to be savvy with multiple forms of communication, especially visual.
- Organizations will expand to superstructures, meaning the workers of the future will be interacting with greater numbers of people and forms of production where creativity will be essential.
- The world will continue to be more connected, meaning the United States and Europe will no longer hold the key to future job growth, innovation, and political power.
Based on IFTF’s work and other’s ideas, I crafted a list of the ten skills every teacher should be teaching and infusing into today’s classroom:
- Flexibility. Teaching students how to be flexible in their thinking and acting will be essential for the rapid changes ahead.
- Social Awareness. Students who can read the social landscape, adapt as necessary, and connect in meaningful ways will be able to make an impact.
- Cross-Cultural Competencies. The workforce of the future will be more globally connected, requiring workers to operate in various cultural settings.
- Conceptual Thinking. Rather than thinking factually, workers will be going beyond specific contents and connecting to diverse content areas requiring conceptually thinking.
- Technology Adaptability. As technology expands and becomes more sophisticated, workers will be creating new media forms and using those forms to grow the economy.
- Creativity. The ability to go beyond the consumption of knowledge to the creation of new ideas is critical for success.
- Self-Regulation. With the expansion of technology and the ever-present load of information, students must learn how to balance their inner affect, behaviors, and cognition to avoid distractions, remain persistent, and follow-through until completion.
- Critical Reasoning to Solve Complex Problems. The act of both divergent and convergent thinking will be necessary to solve not yet known problems.
- Communication. Beyond the face-to-face, our students will need to learn how to work productively and efficiently through various forms of media and technology.
- Resiliency. Students must learn how to bounce back from mistakes or failures, learn from those acts, and move on to create new ideas.
As we begin this new year, let’s keep in mind the valuable words of Margaret Mead, famed anthropologist, that we must teach our students HOW to think rather than WHAT to think. Incorporating the ten skills of the future workforce can prepare our students to be successful in their future.
Richard M. Cash, Ed.D., writes the monthly Cash in on Learning blog posts for Free Spirit Publishing. He has given hundreds of workshops, presentations, and staff development sessions throughout the United States and internationally.
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