In a workshop with parents which I was conducting, I was asked a question which put me in deep thought. Are our schools really preparing our children for the future which will confront them tomorrow? Before one could answer the question, it was important to understand whether we had a common shared view of the our 'future'. Which set us all thinking about what is going to be the future like...
If you are the parent of a pre-school going child, it is not hard to calculate that children today enter their job life in 2030s and what they learn must be relevant well into the 2070s. So, as parents and teachers are we making the rights assumptions of what life and career situations we are preparing children for? What if my assumption is that my child must a master a couple of subjects but it completely turns out otherwise. It is quite unnerving, isnt it?
The people who research the subject of social change and make predictions about the future are social scientists and new age thinkers. Howard Gardner is one such luminary who has written extensively on the subject and helped parents, educationists and teachers to make choices about what we should be teaching children today so that their learning is relevant to their work 50 years from now.
Howard Gardner tells us that the 21st century child will need to have 5 distinct types of 'minds'.
1. A Disciplined mind - disciplined in the art of thinking, asking questions
2. A Synthesizing mind - which helps a person in assimilating various pieces of information which is freely available to all, thanks to the internet, and is able to take learnings from one subject and apply it to another
3. A Creative Mind - the ability to create new patterns of thought and think outside the box. To be able to impact the way people think.
The next two minds are most interesting.
4. The Respectful Mind - which is tolerant to differing view points and able to work together with people with very different behaviours and attitudes
5. The Ethical Mind - which is trained in making the right decisions in difficult situations and the ability to put interest of society ahead of self.
The moot question is how do we develop these abilities in our children. Read the next post on this blog for more on this