• robgratton

7 Skills for the future.

Updated: Apr 10, 2019

Furthering our blog series on An Education for Global Citizenship, we are discussing recognised skills associated with Global competencies.

Both the OECD and World Economic Forum are at the forefront of thinking about education in this the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’. In a recent article the World Economic Forum drew upon the work of Dr. Tony Wagner, co-director of Harvard’s Change Leadership Group, who argues that ‘today’s school children are facing a “global achievement gap”, which is the gap between what even the best schools are teaching and the skills young people need to learn.’ We at IAG, along with a growing number of other educators, recognise that the global shift from an industrial economy to a knowledge economy requires schooling to prepare all learners for an ‘unknown future’ and for life as an active Global Citizen.

In his book The Global Achievement Gap, Wagner identifies seven core competencies every child needs in order to survive in the coming world of work. These core competencies reflect both the tenets of the MYP and our own Curriculum for Global Citizenship.

Critical thinking and problem-solving

Companies need to be able to continuously improve products, processes and services in order to compete. And to do this they need workers to have critical thinking skills and to be able to ask the right questions to get to the bottom of a problem.

As such we at IAG are building a concept and inquiry driven Curriculum, one that facilitates critical thinking and problem solving as an everyday part of IAG life.

Collaboration across networks and leading by influence

Given the interconnected nature of the business world, leadership skills and the ability to influence and work together as a team has become increasingly important. And the key to becoming an effective leader? It’s twofold, says Wagner, involving “creative problem-solving and a clear ethical framework”.

As such we at IAG through our inquiry driven Curriculum are creating opportunities to learn with, as and because of others. Learning together but also for the benefit of an ever growing community starting in the classroom. Central to this is Oracy, Collaboration and Social skills. Only through our development of these attributes can we expect our learners to have the capacity to truly collaborate across networks and become knowledge generators and not solely knowledge consumers. 

Agility and adaptability

The ability to adapt and pick up new skills quickly is vital for success: workers must be able to use a range of tools to solve a problem. This is also known as “learnability”, a sought-after skills among job candidates.

As such we at IAG seek to expose all learners to a range of skills and tools for learning and problem solving. Some of these are articulated as subject specific to enable students to recognise the features of particular disciplines but the vast majority are transferable skills and tools applicable across subject boundaries. Through building consistency in our teaching of recognised tools we are able to reinforce their development and use by all learners. 

Initiative and entrepreneurialism

There is no harm in trying: often people and businesses suffer from a tendency to be risk-averse. It is better to try 10 things and succeed in eight than it is to try five and succeed in all of them.

As such we at IAG, through the Core, Experiential and Extended Curriculum invite students to fail. Done in a safe, supportive and explicit way failure is the only means to which we can develop risk taking, resilience and with that Initiative. 

Effective oral and written communication

Recruits’ fuzzy thinking and inability to articulate their thoughts were common complaints that Wagner came across from business leaders when researching his book. This isn’t so much about young people’s ability to use grammar and punctuation correctly, or to spell, but how to communicate clearly verbally, in writing or while presenting. “If you have great ideas but you can’t communicate them, then you’re lost,” Wagner says.

As such we at IAG prize communication in all its forms. Oracy is explicitly addressed drawing on the wealth of applied research undertaken by Oracy21 and Voice 21. To be literate is key to Global Citizenship and without it ones voice becomes unheard. We will empower all IAG learners to be ‘expert’ communicators, to be masters of their own voice. 

Accessing and analysing information

Many employees have to deal with an immense amount of information on a daily basis: the ability to sift through it and pull out what is relevant is a challenge. Particularly given how rapidly the information can change.

As such we at IAG provide students opportunities to engage with analysis, interpreting data, information and the opinions of those around them. To be a highly effective lifelong-lifewide learner one must be able to locate, access and distinguish through analysis the value of the wealth of information out their in the ‘cloud’. lessons at IAG model thios process, value this process and enable students to engage repeatedly in this process. 

Curiosity and imagination

Curiosity and imagination are what drive innovation and are key to problem solving. “We’re all born curious, creative and imaginative,” says Wagner. “The average four-year-old asks a hundred questions a day. But by the time that child is 10, he or she is much more likely to be concerned with getting the right answers for school than with asking good questions.

“What we as teachers and parents need do to keep alive the curiosity and imagination that, to a greater or lesser extent, is innate in every child.”

As such we at IAG recognise the importance of keeping the mind open, keeping it curious, doing so through ensuring each and every child receives a rich and varied curriculum. The Personal Time (Extended) Curriculum enables this. Many schools fail to broaden the Curriculum limiting experiences early within the secondary phase of education. We at IAG passionately believe that only through an Extended Curriculum can we enable all learners to access rich and varied experiences.    

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