Daniel Pink, internationally renowned thinker, author, journalist and speaker, said recently: “We need people of goodwill to say in the direct context of schooling: hang on, our goal is to prepare young people for their future not our past”. (ACEL Conference, Brisbane, October 2012)
The future for young Australians is a complex global economy and society where ‘conceptual thinking and doing’ define the real economics. Young people need to be creative and conceptual. They will need to be able to work with their brains (Pink says the right side), using ideas and conceptual capacity to create productivity and wealth. They will need to be more than knowledge workers, they will need to be ideas workers, able to share and work with teams in making ideas work economically.
Schools have to change to meet this new world and, therefore, be relevant to their young people. ELTHAM recognised this over a decade ago and transformed to being a school that not only does well what other schools do, but has a unique value add of 21st century dispositions and skills. These make ELTHAM students WORLD READY in comparison to many of their peers who are often only prepared for the present. A good example is the ATAR score. Why be prepared for a good ATAR score if you are not able to make a successful transition to post-school and succeed at what you have decided to do? The single minded focus on the ATAR, without the dispositions and skills to succeed beyond it, is about insisting that young people be prepared to fit into a mould, not a complex and diverse future.
ELTHAM has demonstrated with its students’ outcomes that it is possible to prepare students to be WORLD READY at the same time as preparing them to achieve the ATAR score that they need to fulfil their passions.
WORLD READY is a simple concept. It is about young people having the confidence, optimism, flexibility and resilience to manage themselves within the ever-changing context of post-school living, learning and working. It means that they have the disposition and skill to be life-long self-directed learners – to know when they need to learn, what they need to learn, how to access it, how to actually do the learning and finally, how to apply the learning to their real life issue.
Schooling itself, therefore, is about providing the essential enabling skills (literacy, numeracy and so on) within a context of enjoying learning, applying learning and developing a capacity to be innovative and creative with learning. It is about reaching for high standards and a level of personal excellence that says you have exceeded beyond your expectations. At ELTHAM we have a careful, deliberate and structured blended learning approach that results in “REAL WORLD READY” outcomes. Blended learning involves teaching and learning approaches, with IT, appropriate to what is being taught and learned and is supported by research (see Hattie 2010). We don’t “teach” through self-directed learning, but we do “encourage” it so that young people are able to graduate ready for a successful transition beyond school.
The future is about a constantly transforming socio-economic global community and people who need to be told and coached what to do and how to do it, will not be ready for it. The future requires people who know how to learn, who can grow and change with the world around them. ELTHAM students are ready for the future. They are WORLD READY.
To find out more about how our graduates are World Ready you can read this letter from 2010 graduate Tom Wu.