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Peril of the present moment - Reykjavic Presentation


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A short piece about the future of schools given in Reykjavic to colleagues, students and former students.

Published in: Education
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Peril of the present moment - Reykjavic Presentation

  1. 1. School = Stress Perform! Mental Health Money Meaning Across the world, 46% of young people say school is a huge stressor. In Canada this figure is 63% Students spend 15,000 hours of their life in school. It is supposed to be fun, creative and powerful place to be - a place students want to go to. The pressure to perform, complete courses and achieve results is growing as fears about the future of work and employment increase. Many experts predict that between 35% and 45% of current jobs will disappear as automation, 3D printing, artificial intelligence and robotics start to displace workers. Students are showing more and more signs of mental health challenges. An estimated 1.5 million Canadian children and youth (aged 5-24) are affected by mental health issues and are not receiving access to appropriate supports, treatment, or care, with as many as 70% of young adults living with mental health problems or illnesses reporting that symptoms started in childhood. Learning is getting expensive. The average Canadian higher education student has debts of $25,000+ on graduation. Total student debt in Canada = $22 billion. Governments are generally spending less per capita on education now than they did 5 years ago. Many students question why they study what they study. They seem unsure what their learning means for their lives and what meaning it helps them find. Many don’t see school as connected to their passions, interests and ambitions.
  2. 2. The real work of schools is to find the students passion and build the skills and commitment to that passion so that they become outstanding We don’t know what skills you will need for tomorrow - we do know that you will need to be a life-long learner Schools also need to make sure that students have core skills in language, writing, mathematics, communication... You will also need to be adaptive, resilient and connected. A citizen, a creative person, a skilled person, a healthy person and a person who cares for others as well as themselves, a person engaged in their work and community. What is School For? Skills Life-Long Learner Resilience The Outcomes We Need School, What is it Good For?
  3. 3. To Make A Great School for All, What Do We Need? 1 2 3 4 5 A focus on learners as people, not evidence and pawns in a game of PISA rankings and analytics. To have great resources to support both learning (technology, time, people, community) and learners (health supports, social supports, financial supports). To have some challenges, some opportunities and some required skills - but not a curriculum that gets in the way of inspired teaching, learning and action. To have great, well qualified, compassionate and effective teachers who collaborate with others and are flexible, creative and inspiring. They also have the tools they need to be outstanding. To work with, for and alongside students and to hear their voice and use that voice to design learning. Each school community is unique and should be seen as such. Each school is a community.
  4. 4. Performivity Accountability Datafication STEM There is a pressure on students, teachers and schools to perform on standardized tests. In some places, schools who “underperform” are placed on “special measures” and teachers are “blamed” as “failing to achieve”. Analytics, data and measurement is everywhere. Students are being reduced to “data points” and schools find themselves in league tables. Yet, analytics rarely makes a difference and league tables reflect socio-economic reality rather than teaching, learning or leadership. School systems and the schools within them are increasingly bureaucratic, measured, and held accountable for targets. What schools teach (curriculum) is increasingly focused on STEM and less focused on creative arts, humanities and social studies. Yet STEM is not the only skill-set and knowledge that the future calls for.
  5. 5. Learn to Know Learn to Do Learn To Live Together Learn to Be Develop the skill of exploring ideas, mastering skills and being curious about ”stuff”. Work on skills that help you do what you love, what you need to do and that help you help others. Master the art of empathy and the skills of compassion. In the end, it is what you do with and for others that matters most. Learn how to be comfortable and satisfied being who you are. Learn to overcome anxiety and stress and learn to be just “you”.
  6. 6. FOCUS CHALLENGE CHANGE We need to pursue a clear agenda for the future - one that we chose, not one imposed on us. We need to challenge the current narrative of datafication, globalization and accountability and refocus on learning, meaning and public good. School is not all about competition, ”self” and league tables. School is about helping each learner to be a successful citizen in their own terms. We each need to learn to be resilient, adaptive, capable, self-managing, inquisitive, engaged, empowered and curious. Learn how to champion change and lead social action.