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Skill development in a changing world
12 Oct 2019

Society is facing a time of significant change. The question for all of us who are interested in education is how do we equip children to embrace this change and effectively manage it?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, at another time of significant social change, Charles Dickens was asking a similar question 170 years ago. In painting a picture of the character Richard Carstone in Bleak House, he says ‘he had been educated in no habits of application or concentration’. He goes on to talk about an education system that was focused on process in which ‘success’ is achieving standardised goals. The problem is that the academic routine limits the meaningful development of such skills, so once outside the classroom the individual is lost. 

‘[Application and concentration] were great qualities, with which no high place can be meritoriously won;

but like fire and water, though excellent servants, they were very bad masters.

If they had been under Richard’s direction, they would have been his friends;

but, Richard being under their direction, they became his enemies’. 

If we wish to be part of a system that supports children to manage change both now and in the future how can we further children’s engagement in learning (their application and concentration)? 

EquippingKids talk about the need for children to be ‘plugged in’, 'switched on’ and ‘ready to learn’. It highlights the value in uniting an effective learning environment with an engaged learner.

Once connected a foundation for learning is provided, that then opens the door to embrace meaningful skill development. 

Skill Development Scotland and the Centre for Work-Based Learning in Scotland have produced a thought provoking report called Skills 4.0

It highlights the need for the education system to be increasingly aware of those skills that are going to equip people in a world that is changing.  They classify the skills as follows…

(Skill Development Scotland, 2018: 8)

What do you think? How would these apply in your learning setting

If we recognise the value in these skills then the next challenge is to look at how these skills are embedded within the system - supporting us to be the 'masters' of not only our concentration and application but our ongoing learning journeys. More to follow…