INSPIRATION: How will you teach for the future?

Eddie Obeng gave up his safe teaching job to develop his own business to educate companies about the changing world. Eddie describes the world that was, and the world we live in now. How can you educate for tomorrow? It needs a little green dye and some smart failure!

The role for schools has changed. We’ve mentioned before the Victorian system of education, its industrial model. Yes it worked if you wanted a production line of children at the end who could work in the industrial world. There was only one right way of doing something, change took years and new discoveries were slow. We now live in a world where most of what we taught at school was wrong, master level maths is now taught in primary school and children do not need the teacher to tell them fact anymore, it’s all on their computer.

When you think about it, why would you go to school when you can look it up on your home computer that is probably far more up-to-date, have faster connectivity and doesn’t block half the sites you want to look at. Still in a large number of companies people go from their ‘global headquarters’ at home to commute and almost go back in time to sit at a desk, logon to an outdated computer and send each other emails. Sometimes they arrange meetings but if people are at other sites you end up doing a video conference whereby everyone is still checking out their emails on their phone while one person is talking.

Is this what we should be preparing our children for?

You are not a source of information, you are a source of inspiration. It is what the children do with the information that counts. Eddie Obeng describes a need for change, a mind shift. You need to break down the hierarchy of school, no matter what level the child is or how intelligent you perceive their abilities you need to encourage them to trial novel ideas. The rate of information and change far excels our ability to keep up or predict what will happen in the future, our children need to be able to manage uncertainty, explore the world around them and be comfortable with failing, there is not always an answer or just one answer and sometimes someone flips what we thought we knew upside down and the rules are changed forever.

In a similar vein I will leave you with a talk by Diana Laufenberg who values experimental learning, empowering the student and embracing failure rather than an educational system that values the standardised test and a culture of one right answer.

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