The way that we work is evolving. Technologies such as the robotics, nanotechnology and AI are creating new jobs that open exciting career paths for students.
In fact, 65 percent of children entering primary school today will be employed in jobs that do not yet exist.
To compete in today’s high-tech and global markets, employers need candidates who are not only comfortable using and adapting to new technology but also work well in teams. Employers are demanding that educators prepare students with these, and other, skills that they need to thrive in the information age.
To effectively prepare students for the new world of work, educators must focus on the Four C’s of 21st century learning:
1) Communication – According to a Pew Research Center study, 90 percent of adults said that communication skills are vital to getting ahead in life. However, many graduates lack strength in this area. Focusing on communications in the classroom helps students improve their interpersonal relationships, which is essential when collaborating with co-workers in a global job market.
2) Critical Thinking – A study by Pearson found that students who think critically achieve greater success in both academic settings and the workforce. This is because they have the problem-solving skills that they need to evaluate problems and draw logical conclusions.
3) Creativity – Today’s employers are putting a greater emphasis on creativity and innovation. According to research from Pearson, “The ability to generate novel and useful ideas will be critical for future generations to adapt and formulate effective solutions to real-world problems.”
4) Collaboration – The ability to work well within a team is vital in today’s job market. Teachers who make their lessons collaborative can better prepare students for success in the workplace. In fact, research shows that strengthening students’ collaboration skills improves their job prospects and chances to advance in their careers.
3 Ways Teachers Can Prepare Students for the Future of Work
Traditional classrooms don’t give students all the skills they need to succeed in the workplace of the future. Here are three ways you can prepare your students for tomorrow’s jobs:
1. Design flexible learning spaces.
Flexible classrooms foster interactions between students and teachers. All the elements in these classrooms encourage collaboration – from furniture that can easily change configuration to technologies such as video conferencing and interactive flat panel displays (IFPDs).
For example, students can use IFPDs to make notes, highlight key points, share documents, and watch videos. Here are some of the ways that teachers can use IFPDs to make their lessons more engaging and relevant:
• In language courses, teachers can invite students to come up to the IFPD and present to the class using visuals. This makes the class more participative and enhances the learning experience.
• In art lessons, teachers can invite students to use the IFPD to draw and play with colour. Teachers can also display artwork from around the world on their IFPDs.
• Lessons are more memorable when teachers share multimedia files on their IFPDs. They can easily access videos and pause them at any time – allowing students to make notes directly on the screen.
• Video conferencing tools and IFPDs also allow teachers to bring in guest speakers from around the world – giving students a well-rounded and global learning experience.
• If class ends during the middle of a presentation, teachers can save their slides on IFPDs and pick up exactly where they left off at the start of the next class. Meanwhile, teachers can share content with others who teach the same grade, which makes it easier for them to develop lessons.
New classroom technology such as IFPDs has been proven to improve students’ results, especially for K-6 students who have limited attention spans. This is because the technology helps teachers make their lessons fun, interactive, and inclusive.
Students who learn in flexible classrooms also improve their teamwork skills, which is essential in today’s workplace. In fact, flexible classrooms mirror the way that many offices are designed.
2. Flip your classroom.
In a traditional classroom, students sit at individual desks and listen to their instructor give a lecture at the front of the room.
In a flipped classroom, students sit at tables with small groups. The instructor can move around the room to teach and answer questions. Flipped classrooms also include an online learning component. Students can watch lectures on their own time and have online discussions with their teachers and classmates. Then, they can take part in group discussions and activities when they come to class. Flipped classrooms are proven to improve students’ grades. A study found that 50 percent of freshmen failed English and 44 percent failed math when they learned in traditional classrooms. With flipped classrooms, just 19 percent failed English and 13 percent failed math. Meanwhile, discipline cases dropped from 736 to 249 per semester after the move to flipped classrooms.
Together, these components support the Four C’s of 21st century learning. They allow teachers to make their lessons more collaborative and creative. This improves students’ critical thinking and communications abilities – skills employers look for in new hires.
3. Help students embrace lifelong learning.
According to LinkedIn, people will change jobs 15 times throughout the course of their career. The students who develop skills they can use across multiple roles are the most likely to succeed. In particular, they must embrace continuous learning, so they can keep pace with change and excel when they move to new opportunities.
Educators must revisit their pedagogy and focus on “student-centred learning.” Today’s classrooms are moving away from a model where a teacher lectures and then students memorise information to pass an exam. A student’s ability to memorise lessons is no longer relevant since we can get answers to any question on demand with a quick Google search.
Instead, teachers must help students develop learner autonomy and independence through personalised, self-paced learning and ongoing assessments. This will give students the problem-solving skills that they need to quickly adapt to new roles when they enter the working world.
Are Your Students Prepared for the New World of Work?
With the world of work changing so rapidly, now is the time to evaluate how your school delivers teaching and any areas that you can improve.
For example, modernising your classrooms will help students improve their communication, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration. These skills are vital to students’ success when they enter the workforce. Using new technologies in the classroom also makes your school more competitive and improves student performance.