Lourdes Hill College, in conjunction with the Association of Catholic Secondary Schools of Queensland (ACSSQ), was privileged to host two presentations by the 2018 Travelling Scholar, Tony Ryan (http://www.tonyryan.com.au/home/ ) .
Our Centre for Innovation, Teaching Excellence and Leadership (CiTEL) was a fitting venue for the gathering. Those who attended were richly rewarded.
The Parent presentation focus was; “The Future for our children: What are we doing to our young people?”
For the Educators: “Not for the faint-hearted: Possible scenarios for the future of education and the adult lives of our students today.”
As adults, parents and educators it is easy to become overwhelmed when thinking about the future facing our young people (and ourselves). The rate of change in many spheres; education, work, technology, social, artificial intelligence, is now exponential and no longer linear.
While he did not pull his punches in outlining the significant challenges facing the world and especially our young people, Tony did provide us with hope and some constructive ways forward (although more questions were raised than answers).
Tony had a simple technique for making educators listen - to be ready to reflect on one’s personal learnings in the following ways:
3 core messages
The reflections in this Blog meander around those ‘learning goals’.
As an educator with a role in professional learning of our own staff at Lourdes Hill College, and as a parent of adult children who have more recently started out in the workforce, I was particularly interested in the description of the workplace revolution. Future work scenarios look something like this:
Scenario 1 Now: The Status Quo – Lots of study, one or two jobs for life; high underemployment, flexible workplaces.
Scenario 2 in 1- 2 years: The ‘Gig’ Economy. Entrepreneurial, independent, freelance work, part-time and contract work. (“Our students won’t just be seeking work, they will sometimes be creating it.”)
Scenario 3 in 3-5 years: The AI-augmented worker. More productive human work with physical and intellectual support from AI, a release from the drudgery.
Scenario 4 in More than 10 years. The Workless Society. 20 hours /week a dramatic rethink about Work + Life, 3D printed products for low cost turns mass production on its head.
Educators were reminded that we need to continue to rethink how we teach and to make sure that we are preparing our students in the best possible way for the future beyond the school gates. How are we going to prepare our Year 7’s to be AI-augmented workers in 3-5 years!? Will they be ready to survive as workers in the ‘Gig’ economy?
I found Tony’s presentation was particularly relevant in light of the work we have been doing in CiTEL. In 2016 our Learning Futures Project looked at the question: “What should learning and teaching look like in our classrooms of the future” (Learning Futures Project report). There was widespread input from our community into the project and that has informed the development of our new LHC Learning Futures Framework and Classroom Learning Design.
The new Classroom Learning Design grounds our teaching and the students’ learning experience in our classrooms every lesson, every day. However, just as we think we are making good advances in our teaching and with LHC Virtual, comes Tony’s challenge: “Are we really being innovative? ….or are we just digitising 20th Century teaching?” That is something our curriculum leaders and teachers will need to continue to work on.
Back to those learning goals and a few more core messages:
- Three of the capabilities most needed by our young people are: Adaptive Agility, Entrepreneurship and Empathy. We are on our way with some of these, and how we develop those capabilities as educators at LHC will need to become part of our professional learning program.
- Teach students and staff how to use Design Thinking, and use it actively in all facets of school processes.
- “Encourage your students to see work as a contribution.” (not a drudge, a right).
For parents a key message was that encouraging perseverance and initiative in their children can help prepare them for the future. Some of the reasons why children may not persevere are: that parents make life as convenient as possible and remove obstacles rather than welcoming them, and children may have an unbalanced view of how much hard work it takes to achieve things. Tony urges us to help children to set achievable goals and then celebrate their success so they may connect their accomplishments to the practice they put in.
Tony spoke reassuringly and meaningfully to educators in a Catholic environment - but the messages are universal.
One of my OMG moments was identifying the need to, and then being given the tools for how to; “Turn Hopeless Talk about the Future into Hopeful Talk about the Future”.
We thank ACSSQ for supporting Tony Ryan's tour.