• robgratton

IAG helping to develop ‘Future-proof’ Skills

Updated: Apr 10, 2019

Furthering our blog series on An Education for Global Citizenship, we are discussing the importance Dr. Tony Wagner’s identification of 7 key skills for the future .

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 draws 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 leaders within education, recognise that the global shift from an industrial economy to a knowledge economy requires schooling to prepare all learners for an unknown future and to do so requires thought about what we are ‘teaching’ and why.

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, in particular the attributes and skills of the Learner Profile, and our intentions for a 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 developing an enquiry based approach to curriculum design and delivery. Each unit of work, lasting 1/2 a term, is driven by a subject specific enquiry question which sits under a driving or essential question. such questions not only draw together the subjects and unify the curriculum but also frame learning within a problem to be solved. With a learning journey an academic problem solving journey this is one of the many ways IAG learners will come to enhance their criticality and their problem-solving skills.  

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. The OECD through PISA has come to recognise the significant value of collaboration as a super skill. 

As such we at IAG are explicitly developing opportunities for students to actively engage in collaboration with heir peers, through problem solving and learning in, as and because of careful carted landing teams but also with those ousted the confines of the traditional classroom, working with community educators and working to support community action projects. Such collaborative interventions are epitomised by the community projects and the Internships undertaken as part of our Professional Pathways curriculum during Year 10 and 11. Applied research in the field of collaboration and collaborative group learning is the academic specialism of our newly appointed Vice Principal, as such we will be taking full advantage of his expertise to develop our work as an organisation within this field.

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 are embedding opportunities across the curriculum, through the Core academic offer, the Extended curriculum and above all through our Advisory (Tutor) structures to help students develop actively reflect upon their learning potential and journey. Coming to understand ones active process within learning and acting upon it is commonly referred to as Metacognition. we are committed to ensuring all students are metacognitivley aware and with that come to harness the full potential they have as agile and adaptable 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 will create countless opportunities for students to take the initiative, to make choices and to direct their own learning journeys. This is no initiative without opportunity as such our curriculum is structured to enable opportunities to be taken full advantage of. This is facilitated not only through learning choices within lessons bit also through the Extended curriculum options where students get to choose a range of additional courses across an academic term. For many this will include seizing the opportunity to enhance their language capacity becoming fluent in not just two but in many languages. This will be taken further by encouraging an entrepreneurial attitude facilitated through a number of community based projects and opportunities to commission and be commissioned by an ever wider community in collaborative activities.  

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. 

As such we at IAG are working closely with School21 to build upon their phenomenal work on Oracy, explicitly teaching this as a skill rather than just assuming its existence. Debate, discourse and pubic presentation will become regular features of the academic year. But to be literate is also key, to read widely, to write well for shifting audiences and to meet the standards expected of the professions e.g. to write as a scientist, to write as an engineer, are also being developed. 

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 are ensuring students experience and become competent in the analysis and evaluation of ‘data’ sources as part of their epistemic apprenticeship into the professions. We do not narrowly assume the data analysis is the reserve of  Math and the Sciences rather we are helping students t see this as a process within Individuals & Societies, the Creative Arts, Health & Wellbeing, across all strands of the MYP subject family. 

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 are building a Curriculum, experiences and a journey for each and every learner that enables such curiosity to be fostered rather than shut down. Research int0 neuroscience highlights that Secondary schooling has the capacity to close down creative avenues of thinking when it fails to foster it or provide opportunities for it. We at IAG are mindful of the extensive research into adolescent brain development and with this recognise what opportunities must be in place to keep these cognitive avenues of thought active and healthy. 

The International Academy of Greenwich offers a Curriculum which is highly personalised, authentic and actively promotes the importance of language. This is to enable all learners to develop as a Global Citizens and as a lifelong-lifewide learners. Through a model of cross-subject enquiries guided by essential real-world questions, learners will be presented with countless opportunities to engage deeply with the knowledge, attitudes and skills of a wide range of academic disciplines while seeing its direct relevance to the world around them.

Our choice of enquiries are designed around real-world issues, enabling students to make valuable connections between their studies and the world around them.Our unique Professional Pathways curriculum at Key Stage 4 seeks to prepare students for further study, the world of professional work and a lifetime of learning.Our approach is designed to enable all students to master individual subjects, to develop the ‘future-proof’ literacies, competencies and attributes of a ‘future-ready’ learner and Global Citizen.

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