“You have to learn how to do these sums in your head, when your older you are not going to have a calculator in your pocket all the time”. Well we showed them! The maths teachers of the 80’s had the best intentions when they drilled us on additions and multiplications but as it turns out the world changed. Not only do we carry calculators but so many tools and information it makes the whole set up of our school education look slightly pointless!
Its an incredibly exciting, and yet sometimes scary, time to be alive with so much dynamic change. However, as a mother I can’t help but wonder what world we are sending our children in to. Through the work I do with businesses I see so many organisations embracing change. Looking at my children’s school education I can’t help but feel how outdated the whole system is.
The reality is that, whilst I am still not brave enough to draw my beliefs away from the importance of reading and writing, by the time our kids grow up they may not need these sorts of traditional skills anymore! The development of speech recognition technology is going to create a huge shift in the way we do everything. As for memorising facts and figures for examinations… what is the point… we have Google!
I believe what will be important in the future are two main things: Creativity and Connection. The future successes will be in the hands of young adults that can generate exciting new ideas and have the people skills to build relationships and communities to make those ideas a reality. They will of course also need resilience and a great work ethic because the world will continue to be emotionally challenging in many ways.
So, what can we do for our kids to prepare them for this new world? School is not all bad. Whilst I fundamentally disagree with some of the curriculum, the process of learning is teaching them that much needed work ethic and resilience. However, outside school I believe the best thing I can do for my children is give them the freedom to explore their ideas and relationships, to expose them to a range of different people and experiences that broaden their perspective and deepen their understanding of themselves.
Over half term we made our annual pilgrimage to a three-day family music festival. This is the most wonderful environment for the children to experience creativity and connection. They learn:
After three long days of boogieing late into the night and filling the day with constant engaging creative activity the effects of the experiences can be clearly seen. When we arrive the on Friday it is usually a struggle to get the children to carry their bags down the hill. By the end of the weekend they are working as team and helping push even Mum and Dad’s things back up to the car! They chatter constantly about new ideas and things they can do with their friends. They smile… lots!
Next time you think of your kid’s education perhaps don’t just think of sports clubs and school activities… what can we do with our young people to really engage them in the life they are living, to expand their amazing little minds and let them feel free. That way they will start their own creativity and create connections.
If you are interested in some new perspectives on our education system I can highly recommend you watch one of my favourite TED talks by Sugata Mitra; School in the Clouds