Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Preparing Students for an Uncertain Future

Public education has the daunting task for preparing students for their future. In times past the future was relatively predictable in terms of what the students could expect. Most areas knew the kinds of jobs available to that region and we knew what colleges would expect students to know. Technology has changed all previous ideas and we are faced with the task of preparing students for jobs that do not yet exist.

We are told that technology doubles every two years and we are living in times of exponential change. By the time we are trained on one device or program, it is obsolete. School systems, like any large organization, are sometimes slow to change and this can many times pose a problem. By the time schools are able to purchase the latest technology and get the infrastructure available to adequately use the technology, something new has come along.

Schools must continue to try and be on the leading edge, but must always continue to teach skills that will allow students to be lifelong learners. Most adults will have multiple jobs in their working lives and the better learners will have a huge competitive edge. We must challenge students and help them become thinkers and problem solvers in order to compete in the future. Using the most current technology is great, but having the capacity and desire to continue learning will enable a person to stay up with the latest trends. It is much like the old adage, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Many times even our best students want to know exactly what they need to know so they can memorize the answer and get an “A.” We all want our students to make good grades, but we must remember that thinking and problem solving is not easy. We must continue to challenge students to try and reach their full learning potential. Hard work and creative thinking will ensure our students thrive in their future.

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