From the Deputy Head (Teaching and Learning)
Last week I was delighted to attend the Education Evolution conference held at Caterham School dedicated to exploring the issue of how we equip our pupils with the skills required in a rapidly changing world. We heard from a range of outstanding speakers from both education and business backgrounds, who shared some quite mind-blowing research about the growth of technology and how this will affect the jobs of the future. I was also pleased to lead a seminar about the St Michael’s homework challenges and how they develop independence, curiosity and confidence in our pupils.
What is important for the children of today? The World Economic Forum has recently published the 10 fastest growing skills that will be required in the technology-led society that is developing around us. As educators, we need to think about the opportunities that we are providing for our pupils to develop these important qualities. Taking the place of memory-based skills are the following qualities that will be required for jobs in the next ten years:
1. Analytical thinking & innovation
2. Active learning and learning strategies
3. Creativity, originality & initiative
4. Technology design & programming
5. Critical thinking & analysis
6. Complex problem-solving
7. Leadership & social influence
8. Emotional intelligence
9. Reasoning, problem-solving & ideation
10. Systems analysis & evaluation
In my session, I explained how we are developing wider, crucial skills of independence, creativity, curiosity and confidence through our homework challenges. Reflecting on the kind of work that we have seen our pupils produce over the last 2 years was really exciting. I knew that the best people to introduce what the challenges are all about would be the pupils themselves and the video that you can now see on the website explains exactly that. (See our Homework Challenge page)
The St Michael’s pupils have undoubtedly exceeded any expectations we had about the kind of outcomes we would see from the challenges. The single biggest limit we ever place on our learning is that of our own. Our children are capable and creative and the open-ended nature of the challenges means that there are no limits on any child and what they can produce. When you reflect on the skills listed above, it confirms the importance of this kind of learning for our pupils.
The closing speaker of the day was Sir Anthony Seldon and he delivered a powerful, humorous and incredibly moving talk on the future of education in the age of Artificial Intelligence. He pondered the purpose of education and why we all do what we do, sharing his thoughts on the key features of a successful education: becoming a good human being, happiness, learning about family and deep inner growth. We thought about the different types of intelligence, and the ways in which we can develop our children: socially, personally, morally, spiritually, physically and culturally. I left feeling incredibly inspired and proud of what we have already achieved with our homework challenges and the ways that our pupils are developing in contrast to those in schools with a more traditional homework system. As teachers at St Michael’s, we look forward to the moment at the end of each term when each child gets their own chance to stand up and share what they have created or discovered and what they have learnt in the process. It really is something special and we have all learnt a great deal from and about one another.