Five Ways to Prepare Students for the Future
published on April 27, 2021 by Sonia Mastros
It's fairly well-known that the 'modern' school system as we know it in America came into being in the first half of the 20th Century - and there have been surprisingly few updates to its structure and content since. Specific subjects are periodically updated according to new findings, but on the whole, the focus of current education is still largely based on last-century issues. Can we really prepare students for the future when the school system lacks a curriculum focused on 21st century topics?
There's no single right way to prepare students for the future, but these are some modern-day topics where most experts agree students are being underserved.
Five Critical Curriculum Updates To Prepare Students for the Future
1. Online Behavior and Privacy
Schools have been notoriously slow to address the Internet and online behavior in classes. They may integrate online resources into classes, but students still receive relatively little guidance on matters such as how to protect their privacy online. In an age where major data breaches and other online privacy infringements are a weekly occurrence, students need more guidance on protecting themselves online.
2. More Focus on Cooperation and Group Activity
Why do schools still emphasize individual coursework, when the business world overwhelmingly relies on group work? Students often have few opportunities to work together in groups towards common goals, which could easily put them at a disadvantage when they move into the business world. Students need to understand group dynamics, psychology, and the importance of compromise in collective projects.
3. Critical Thinking Skills
In an era where 'fake news' is everywhere, and real news is decried as fake as a distraction, students need critical reading and thinking skills more than ever. However, there has been little progress on this front. Most schools still teach students to accept sources - and teachers - as generally infallible, which sets a very bad example. Students need to enter the world able to tell 'fake news' from the real thing, especially if there is any hope of them being helpful contributors to our democracy, but such teaching seems to be rare.
We've talked about this before, but it bears repeating: Schools almost always let children down when it comes to financial education. Roughly 2/3 of the public cannot prepare a household budget, or even say how much money they spent the previous month. Students desperately need more teaching in how to handle their finances.
5. Smart Eco-Awareness
Many younger people independently research and learn about ecological threats to the planet, but this is often skipped over in school. Students should be taught more about the impact of human activity on the planet, so they can learn better ways of living to protect the future.
What do you think? What skills do you think will prepare students for the future? Share your ideas in the comments!