What is a “future-ready student”, and why is it important to equip your kid with “future-ready skills”? Read on to find out what the experts say
The future is full of uncertainties, but one thing’s for sure – our kids will eventually leave school to enter an ever-changing workforce. How can we be sure that they’re ready for life beyond school, and how do we prepare them for it? What are the necessary skills that we should equip them with?
At our most recent HoneyKids Talk: Why do we need future-ready students, and how to ensure your kids are equipped, we spoke to three educators and a secondary school student from Australian International School (AIS) and Canadian International School (CIS) about how to raise future-ready children in a rapidly changing world. Read on for their tips on what you can do at home to future-proof your kids, how to prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow, as well as what schools are doing today to prepare their students for the future.
Got a burning question and need the answer? Jump to the video section that’s relevant for you!
Speaker introductions – 1.52
What does the term ‘future-ready’ actually mean – 4.36
Why is it important to focus on developing ‘future-ready’ kids? – 6.31
Why are future-ready skills important from a student’s perspective? – 7.56
How are ‘future-ready’ skills taught within a school setting? – 8.49
Future-ready skills: When to start and what can we do to help children prepare for these? – 10.56
How can we tell if our children are ‘future-ready’? – 12.51
How do extracurricular activities help with developing ‘future-ready’ skills? – 14.12
What can parents do to develop ‘future-ready’ kids? – 15.21
Final takeaway from panellists – 17.49
Q & A – 23.05
How to get future-ready kids: TOP INSIGHTS FROM THE EXPERTS
1. Creativity, resilience, and the ability to collaborate are some of the top skills that employers look for.
We cannot dictate what the future will hold, but we can predict that technology will continue to develop, and so will different industries and economies across the globe. What these jobs and careers have in common is that they require people who can think outside the box, who are creative, resilient, and collaborative. It’s also worth noting that research shows that third culture kids already have the additional benefit of being “future ready.” They are known to be highly adaptive and can cross cultures with ease, be more open minded, empathetic, bilingual and better at communicating. All of these skills ultimately assist them to be “future ready” for an environment that requires them to be highly collaborative.
2. Schools play an important role in creating future-ready students.
In order for students to be future-ready, schools must provide students with the following opportunities:
- First, integrate real world issues into a more student-centred learning environment and provide students with tools and choices to enable them to solve problems, collaborate, as well as use critical thinking and creativity.
- Second, students of today are proficient in the language of technology, so schools should embrace this and give students opportunities to be on apps, Youtube, podcasts, and make them leaders in this digital world.
- Last but not least, government and policymakers need to recognise that mundane, standardised testing does not ensure future readiness. Instead, students should be tested holistically to analyse their collaboration, communication, leadership, digital literacy, and creativity skills.
3. The only way to deliver exceptional learning is with outstanding care and support.
Schools and families should couple high expectations for success with relentless care and support. This creates high performance learning relationships between teachers and students that promote outstanding achievement. Good schools ask what children need to learn and how will we know when they’ve learned it. Great schools ask the third question: how will we intervene when some students don’t learn in the same way or at the same pace as their classmates. Then, deliberately build the individualised instructional support program necessary for that child to succeed.
4. Don’t oversteer your child’s development.
Your child is not a mini adult, they’re children. They need nutrition, sleep, fresh air, exercise, and playtime with their peers, but most of all, they need unconditional love and support from their parents. As parents, we are the role models they look to in their lives for wisdom, direction, and encouragement. Don’t ask your children what they want to be when they grow up – no six-year-old knows the answer to that question. Instead, ask yourself what type of person you want your child to grow up to be and raise them towards that goal.
5. Get children to do what they’re learning.
Think about the last time you tried to learn something new – what did you do? How did you learn it? Did you watch a YouTube video? Talk to a friend? Engage the advice of an expert? Or jump straight in and figure it out along the way? No matter the approach you took, we can pretty much guarantee that a huge part of your learning involved this step – doing and engaging in what you were learning about. If this is the way we as adults learn, then what are we doing to help our children learn through a similar process?
If you want your child to become creative problem solvers, let them tackle problems and challenges in ways that spark and require personalised and creative solutions. If you want your child to be collaborative, engage them in situations and opportunities to collaborate, both at home and in social situations. Model it in your work, in your home, with your friends. If you want your child to be curious, allow them to ask questions, be in awe, wonder about things, and embrace new and unknown situations with excitement. Create a space where your child feels safe and supported in doing these things.
How to get future-ready kids: YOUR QUESTIONS, ANSWERED!
1. My child is motivated to learn (e.g. reading, phonics) when she has TV time after. She does not seem excited otherwise. Is this a bad approach?
Nikita Nguyen (AIS): The digital age is what our children are living in now, so we should embrace this as a learning opportunity to help them discern fake news and what shows are good for them. Also, there needs to be a balance between studying and what they enjoy. This can be another opportunity to teach time management and multi-tasking skills.
2. What are the best ways to support our child’s path to the future?
Peter Corcoran (CIS): Give them the gift of a second (or even a third language) – it will provide them with another important lens through which to view the world. Don’t overschedule their free time. Instead, give them the gift of boredom as there is nothing like boredom to spur creativity. Lastly, model your beliefs. If you want your child to spend less time in front of the screen, put away your laptop and phone in the evening and give them the gift of your time and attention.
3. How can I make my child more resilient?
Peter Corcoran (CIS): Model that it is OK to make mistakes and talk about the lessons mistakes can teach us. Let your child struggle to resolve their own problems before you step in with a solution. Find ways to connect your child to service for others – service creates powerful feelings of efficacy, connection, and self-worth that build character. You can also give your children control over their actions and decision making and encourage them to think about the way their decisions affect both themselves and others.
4. Are top scores and academic achievement becoming a thing of the past?
Christa Craats (CIS): We all agree that there’s a necessity for our students to develop knowledge and skills around particular subject areas and disciplines by offering relevant and rigorous academic programs, however, what is becoming more and more apparent is the need for our students to be able to think critically about what they know and be able to apply and transfer their knowledge to real life situations and environments. There is a slow shift in higher education that is starting to look at – and consider – not only the academic success of our students but rather what they do as a result of their learning. That is why our experiential learning approaches and programs are crucial in developing the holistic learner, encouraging our students to internalise their learning and empowering them to take purposeful and meaningful action in a complex and connected world.
5. What age should we, as parents, start to take care of our child’s mental well-being, and what can we do?
Nikita Nguyen (AIS): You can’t pinpoint an age for mental illness – depression, anxiety, and stress – affects students of all ages. Daily conversations and openness will help you understand your child’s mental, social and emotional needs. Activities that worked for me include going on walks, reading, exercising, getting involved in extracurricular sport or act of kindness activities and or seeing the school counsellor.
A big thank you to our panellists, Scott Murphy and Nikita Nguyen from AIS, as well as Peter Corcoran and Christa Craats from CIS…
Scott has a desire to provide world class education and care. He considers the wellbeing of all students to be paramount for learning and believes every student should have the opportunity to reach their full potential. It is this belief that drives him to be an outstanding educational role model responsible for developing lifelong learners who care about the ever-evolving world around them and want to make a difference. Scott believes that the grounding a child receives during their developmental years heavily influences their attitudes and values for the rest of their lives. Scott has over seventeen years of teaching experience both internationally and in Australia, specialising in adolescent development.
Nikita is the Derwent House prefect at AIS in Singapore. She believes that students who feel connected to school are more likely to have a positive outlook on life, do better academically, and generally are nicer and kinder people to be around. In 2021/2022, she hopes to revive the Shark house spirit by instilling a sense of comradery among its members. Throughout the school year, Derwent House members proudly wear their blue house colours to carnivals, decorate house boards, and cheer on their teammates at sporting events and other house events. It is this teamwork, the desire for personal excellence, individual strengths and a sense of belonging that allowed Derwent house to win the House Cup in 2021. In the future, She hopes to become a speech pathologist – a profession that advocates, supports, and empowers individuals to be the best version of themselves.
Peter Corcoran joined CIS in 2017 and has over 40 years of experience in education, both in Canada and internationally. Pete has been Head of School in academically prestigious schools in both Canada and South East Asia. Prior to his appointment at CIS he served as the Executive Director of the Qatar Foundation Schools where he oversaw a consortium of 10 schools and centres serving a population of 5,000 students. Peter has shared his vision of educational leadership and passion for school improvement in a variety of international settings throughout his career. He holds a Honours Degree in Psychology from the University of Victoria and a Masters in School Administration from the University of British Columbia.
With over 20 years of teaching experience in Canada and Singapore (13 years as the Open Minds Lead teacher at CIS), Christa has developed the knowledge, skills and expertise necessary to design and execute highly effective and relevant learning experiences for her students. Having lived in Singapore for 15 years, she has anchored herself in the local community and developed long term partnerships with community organisations where she acts as a volunteer, mentor, presenter and collaborator to support the development and execution of experiential learning projects. Christa is extremely passionate about connecting learning to real-world contexts and creating learning environments that stimulate curiosity, support individuality, engage students in collaboration and encourage creative problem-solving.