Principals Pen Wednesday, 13 June 2018

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland earlier this year, cofounder or Alibaba Group, Jack Ma shared his story of rejection, persistence and success. He offered a passionate and astute opinion about education, proposing that, ‘Everything we teach should be different from machines. If the machine can do better … you need to think about it.’ He speaks with sincerity of heart as he goes on to say,

Education is a big challenge now – if we do not change the way we teach, 30 years later we will be in trouble. The things we teach our kids are the things from the past 200 years. It is knowledge-based, and we cannot teach our kids to compete with machines who are smarter. We have to teach our kids something unique, so that a machine can never catch up with us. In this way, 30 years later, kids will have a chance.

Be inspired by Ma’s words of wisdom here or – for the time-poor – enjoy a short excerpt of his session here.

In 2017 the World Economic Forum and the Centre for Global Education promoted Tony Wagner’s list of 7 skills children need to develop in order to survive the future workplace:

Critical thinking and problem-solving
Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
Agility and adaptability
Initiative and entrepreneurialism
Effective oral and written communication
Accessing and analysing information
Curiosity and imagination
These are what we call soft skills. They are intangible and non-technical attributes that will out-live the skills from the former education model, such as memorising out-dated facts or constructing products that will likely become obsolete. (You may recall my reference to my double-cassette deck and Liquid Paper in recent weeks!) These soft skills also give our students an edge over machines and automation.

Some people are motivated and enthused by everything the future holds, while others are anxious about or reject the notion of a changing world. Regardless of individual attitudes towards the changing nature of our world, we must accept that this is the world our children will live in. As such, Living Faith accepts its moral imperative to prepare children to not just survive, but to thrive in this exponentially-evolving world. And so, at tonight’s Exhibition Evening, as you marvel at the culmination of semester-long learnings of your child and his/her peers, look for evidence of a growing skill-set that will serve your child not in yesterday’s world, but in tomorrow’s. Celebrate not just the final product that is on display tonight, but the learning that took place in order to reach this point – the failures, the setbacks, the restarts, the adaptations, the perseverance, the learnings, the difficult times, the fun times. Accomplishment exists only by travelling these roads, and so it’s essential that our children see us – the mentors in their lives – valuing the journey, as the means to arriving at the destination.

- Jane Mueller, Principal