This month High Q reflects on how schools should prepare students for the world of the future. Excellence and pleasure of learning that is skill-based curricula, knowledge-based curricula, research-based learning everyone has their own opinion on how we should teach the children of our times! However, many forget that children today will not be adults in today’s world, but in the “world of tomorrow”; a different world, with a series of different rules, with different limits and different opportunities. We must educate today’s children for a world that does not exist yet, a world that we can try to imagine, but which is unpredictable and unknown. It’s not that I think school is a good idea that has gone wrong, but it was a bad idea from the start It’s stupid to think that we can have a place where the only thing we do is learn, regardless of the real life.
At present, we have knowledge at the click of a mouse, wherever we are. With a quick search on the internet, we can find even the most unusual data. Even the skills to discover sources of knowledge seem to be innate in most of the children’s group: I myself have witnessed the ease with which children of only 5 years old (including my own child) surf the internet. So, what weapons should we equip the children of today so that not only the sectors of creativity and culture flourish but all the other sectors develop and triumph? We must instil an eternal love for learning. We must enlighten the children, motivate them, and equip them with skills, with commitment. We must ensure that our schools are dynamic places that are sources of inspiration. And that same degree of dynamism and inspiration must also be transmitted by our teachers. In addition, the opportunities that we offer to our children must present a wide and varied range of wide-ranging experiences that transcend the experiences of the child.
We must open minds, offer opportunities that favour free thinking, we must encourage questions to be asked, encourage children to make mistakes and take risks. We use the expression “think outside the established parameters”. However, during an experiment “outside the established parameters”, several children taught me that we should stop using it. They told me that when real learning takes place, we do not think outside the established parameters, because the most effective learning actually takes place when there is no parameter. In schools that follow the principle of “open-plan”, there are no differences between hall spaces and classes.
The traditional closed rooms are transformed into multimodal spaces, which are linked to one another by means of glass walls and movable divisions. The furniture is adjustable and includes sofas and pouffes. Nothing like the school desks that most of us know! There is no clear division or distinction between corridor spaces and classes. In this way, he explains, teachers and students can choose the most appropriate space to carry out a job or a project depending on whether it is individual, in teams or in larger groups. This is what distinguishes the best centres: those where everything is possible, where there are no established parameters to which to stick.
Our educational system must be integrative, genuinely cooperative. Schools, as the core of the community, must become integral learning centres throughout the life cycle. We have to educate people who are self-confident, respectful, resilient, inquiring, endowed with the necessary skills to adapt to the constant change in the world in which we live.
Basically, we should bring children to all the artists and creative experts we can. In this way, they will not see artists as people who paint expensive paintings, but as real people, people that they themselves can become, and not just dream about it. Each and every one of the children should be able to work with artists, dancers, actors, musicians, writers, illustrators … and not just once in their life, but on a regular basis. They should also be given the opportunity to work with professionals in the legal, accounting, painting, or gardening fields to prove that having a good future is at their fingertips, which is not just an inaccessible dream.
Of course, it is necessary that there is some type of evaluation to check if students progress, but the content that is evaluated should not be limited to reading, writing or mathematics. We must discover effective mechanisms that allow us to assess the creative abilities of children, their attitudes towards learning and life, and even their degree of well-being.
We must also recognize that with the invention of new technologies, the world is now a much smaller place than a decade ago and that in ten years time, it will be even smaller. We must use these technologies to show them the outside world, so that they learn from the best, so that they apply and perfect the learning of others so that all this has an impact on their own lives.
Our educational system must be transformed into a different place: a place where not only literacy and mathematics are valued, a place where everything from childhood to youth is valued, a place where it is known that although it is important that children have good basic knowledge in the field of literacy and mathematics, the winners have much more than that, to know what it is exactly, we must work with the outside world. Our educational system must really stand out and, to achieve this, our centres must be outstanding.
Israel has a great investment in technology, and this makes it one of the best educational models worldwide. In addition, it has a standardized academic plan that is applied in the same way in all educational centres with the objective that all students receive the same education and reduce the knowledge gap that arises when different educational methodologies are applied. The average number of days students attend classes is about 240 per year, in addition to receiving personalized tutoring on non-working days in order to complement their learning.