Dr Michael Anderson is Professor of Education at The University of Sydney
Imagine a school where the students have the agency to know how to learn. Where students have the curiosity and confidence to engage with the world as active citizens in small and big ways.
This is what we call 4C schools, and these schools exist. The 4Cs are creativity, critical reflection, collaboration and communication. In their classrooms and staff rooms, 4C schools are transforming learning and teaching through this quartet. But in these schools it takes will, energy, inquiry, courage and determination.
To thrive in a rapidly evolving, technology-mediated world, students must not only possess strong skills in areas such as language arts, mathematics and science, but they must also be adept at skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, persistence, collaboration and curiosity.
All too often, however, students in many countries are not attaining these skills. In this context, the World Economic Forum has taken on a multi-year initiative, New Vision for Education, to examine the pressing issue of skills gaps and explore ways to address these gaps through technology.
Being a bit of a thicko when it comes to science, I’m not 100% sure of the one idea, but what got me was the teaching of a concept (such as acceleration) through action, rather than abstraction.
One of my colleagues was telling me yesterday of her teaching a Japanese language and culture course, by ‘sending’ her students on an ‘Amazing Race’ style journey, to different cities. The students would have to navigate their way ‘on’ a bullet train, and describe their experiences, in Japanese. The students loved it, and the approach of adaptive release, where one problem has to be solved before the next one is revealed meant the students were (in many cases) competing desperately to get the next challenge. This is presumably in contrast to learning the alphabet and building a vocabulary one syllable and one character at a time.
This might all seem a bit obvious, but I suspect it’s not as pervasive as it might be, in terms of teaching and learning practice.
The Future of Work/ Automation debate rumbles on. UBI seems to be back in the news, and even luminaries such as Bill Gates are positing there has to be some fiscal redistribution. CSIRO’s Data61 chief executive Adrian Turner presents the counter-argument. Well, actually, I’m not sure the article does that but Turner sees the displacement of jobs as inevitable, sector by sector and doesn’t agree with the idea of a robot tax, rather that society focus on re-skilling people out of disrupted industries into newly created jobs.