21st-century skills – Let’s change the conversation around ‘change’

We need to get over the idea that tomorrow’s great discoveries will somehow invalidate our prior understanding of how the world works, argues Harley Richardson in the Education Forum’s latest column for Teach Secondary magazine…

…Despite what some people might say, it’s still the case that in many – if not most – professions it’s entirely possible to develop a range of skills and knowledge over the course of a single career, and that an individual’s experience and expertise still counts for a lot. New industries don’t appear fully formed out of nowhere, but rather develop organically out of existing ones, and will tend to rely heavily upon established skills and knowledge.

This is just as true of the edtech world in which I work as it is in more ‘traditional’ industries, despite the technology sector being almost synonymous with those 21st Century Skills. You’ll still find plenty of accountants, writers, designers, salespeople, trainers and project managers in tech firms. Their specific job titles might be unfamiliar, but you’ll struggle to find any role within a modern organisation that doesn’t draw upon some form of existing skills...

Read the full article on TeachWire.

21st-century skills – Schools are meant to teach them, but will employers actually want them?

We’ve all heard how important 21st-century skills are meant to be for today’s students, says Harley Richardson in the Forum’s column for Teach Secondary magazine – but given current employment trends, they may be in for a rude awakening…

There’s a claim that’s been made every few months by Britain’s business leaders for as long as I can remember: ‘Schools and universities are failing to equip young people for the workplace!’

With lockdown now making young people’s employment prospects especially gloomy, there’s a heightened urgency to that message.

Many educationalists hold our knowledge-based education system responsible, claiming it produces unimaginative young people whose heads are filled with redundant facts.

The solution? Devote more energy to teaching young people transferable ‘21st-century skills’, such as creativity and problem solving, which can be applied to whatever problems the future holds in store.

Yet my experience on both sides of the recruitment fence suggests this paints a misleading picture of the modern world of work – one that teachers and students would be well-advised to ignore...

Read the full article on TeachWire.