The goal of education is to produce lifelong learners. In an age of globalization, outsourcing and job creation and elimination, this is quite a task. Moreover, changes we make to education today may take years to manifest in the world of adult workers. To become future-proofed, educators must guide students to:
- synthesize information by learning to blend knowledge from different disciplines
- work well with a diverse group of peers, and eventually supervisors and employees.
- act with self-reflection, self-regulation and engagement
- commit to responsibility and integrity
These things, however, are not enough.
Measuring the effects of education research is notoriously tricky. There are so many confounds (things you cannot really control for), and it is considered unethical to withhold an intervention that you think would really work from a control population. Kids are also growing up all the while, so their development alone may be influencing the effect of an intervention. Even in the same community students live in different homes, have different families with different values, and have different habits such as watching lots of TV, eating junk food or reading for pleasure.
Future-proofing is about flexibility, the underlying skill set of innovation.
How can schools be more effective? Creating happy schools may be as important as incorporating standards-based learning. According to Barbara Fredrickson and her colleagues, unlike negative emotions which call up the mental and physiological ability to act (e.g.: fear has a tendency to encourage escape, or and anger makes a person feel like fighting back), the positive emotions are more broadening, and can even undo the reactivity that comes from negative emotions like rage or anxiety. The social, intellectual and psychological resources that positive emotions build are valuable for learning, too. People who experience positive emotion:
- show thought patterns that are flexible
- are more creative and open to new information
- more readily integrate new learning into old
- improve cognitive performance overall
Positive Education uses direct teaching and embedding of social-emotional learning with academic skills. It’s an important way to build the foundation for future-proof learning. Find out more on our Free Resources and Speaking pages.