Ed­u­ca­tion has a vi­tal role to play in de­vel­op­ing the knowl­edge, skills, at­ti­tudes and values that en­able peo­ple to con­trib­ute to and ben­e­fit from an in­clu­sive and sus­tain­able fu­ture. Learn­ing to form clear and pur­pose­ful goals, work with oth­ers with diffe

Observer on Saturday - - Analysis & Opinion - A first chal­lenge is en­vi­ron­men­tal:

Cli­mate change and the de­ple­tion of nat­u­ral re­sources re­quire ur­gent ac­tion and adap­ta­tion.

A third chal­lenge is so­cial

A third chal­lenge is so­cial: As the global pop­u­la­tion con­tin­ues to grow, mi­gra­tion, ur­ban­i­sa­tion and in­creas­ing so­cial and cul­tural diver­sity are re­shap­ing coun­tries and com­mu­ni­ties. In large parts of the world, in­equal­i­ties in liv­ing stan­dards and life chances are widen­ing, while con­flict, in­sta­bil­ity and in­er­tia, of­ten in­ter­twined with pop­ulist pol­i­tics, are erod­ing trust and con­fi­dence in gov­ern­ment it­self. Ed­u­ca­tion has a vi­tal role to play in de­vel­op­ing the knowl­edge, skills, at­ti­tudes and values that en­able peo­ple to con­trib­ute to and ben­e­fit from an in­clu­sive and sus­tain­able fu­ture. Learn­ing to form clear and pur­pose­ful goals, work with oth­ers with dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives, find un­tapped op­por­tu­ni­ties and iden­tify mul­ti­ple so­lu­tions to big prob­lems will be es­sen­tial in the coming years. Ed­u­ca­tion needs to aim to do more than prepare young peo­ple for the world of work; it needs to equip pupils with the skills they need to be­come ac­tive, re­spon­si­ble and en­gaged cit­i­zens.

Fu­ture-ready pupils need to ex­er­cise agency, in their own ed­u­ca­tion and through­out life. Agency im­plies a sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity to par­tic­i­pate in the world and, in so do­ing, to in­flu­ence peo­ple, events and cir­cum­stances for the bet­ter. Agency re­quires the abil­ity to frame a guid­ing pur­pose and iden­tify ac­tions to achieve a goal.

To help en­able agency, ed­u­ca­tors must not only recog­nise learn­ers’ in­di­vid­u­al­ity, but also ac­knowl­edge the wider set of re­la­tion­ships – with their teach­ers, peers, fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties – that in­flu­ence their learn­ing. A con­cept un­der­ly­ing the learn­ing frame­work is ‘co­a­gency’ – the in­ter­ac­tive, mu­tu­ally sup­port­ive re­la­tion­ships that help learn­ers to progress to­wards their val­ued goals. In this con­text, ev­ery­one should be con­sid­ered a learner, not only pupils but also teach­ers, school man­agers, par­ents and com­mu­ni­ties

Two fac­tors, in par­tic­u­lar, help learn­ers en­able agency. The first is a per­son­alised learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment that sup­ports and mo­ti­vates each stu­dent to nur­ture his or her pas­sions, make con­nec­tions be­tween dif­fer­ent learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ences and op­por­tu­ni­ties, and de­sign their own learn­ing projects and pro­cesses in col­lab­o­ra­tion with oth­ers. The se­cond is build­ing a solid foun­da­tion: lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy re­main cru­cial. In the era of dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion and with the ad­vent of big data, dig­i­tal lit­er­acy and data lit­er­acy are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly es­sen­tial, as are phys­i­cal health and men­tal well-be­ing.

Pupils who are best pre­pared for the fu­ture are change agents. They can have a pos­i­tive im­pact on their sur­round­ings, in­flu­ence the fu­ture, un­der­stand oth­ers’ in­ten­tions, ac­tions and feel­ings, and an­tic­i­pate the short and longterm con­se­quences of what they do. The con­cept of com­pe­tency im­plies more than just the ac­qui­si­tion of knowl­edge and skills; it in­volves the mo­bil­i­sa­tion of knowl­edge, skills, at­ti­tudes and values to meet com­plex de­mands. Fu­tur­eready pupils will need both broad and spe­cialised knowl­edge. Dis­ci­plinary knowl­edge will con­tinue to be im­por­tant, as the raw ma­te­rial from which new knowl­edge is de­vel­oped, to­gether with the ca­pac­ity to think across the bound­aries of dis­ci­plines and “con­nect the dots”.

Epis­temic knowl­edge, or knowl­edge about the dis­ci­plines, such as know­ing how to think like a math­e­ma­ti­cian, his­to­rian or sci­en­tist, will also be sig­nif­i­cant, en­abling pupils to ex­tend their dis­ci­plinary knowl­edge. Pro­ce­dural knowl­edge is ac­quired by un­der­stand­ing how some­thing is done or made – the series of steps or ac­tions taken to ac­com­plish a goal. Some pro­ce­dural knowl­edge is do­main-spe­cific, some trans­fer­able across do­mains. It typ­i­cally de­vel­ops through prac­ti­cal prob­lem-solv­ing, such as through de­sign think­ing and sys­tems think­ing.

Pupils will need to ap­ply their knowl­edge in un­known and evolv­ing cir­cum­stances. For this, they will need a broad range of skills, in­clud­ing cog­ni­tive and meta-cog­ni­tive skills (e.g. crit­i­cal think­ing, cre­ative think­ing, learn­ing to learn and self-reg­u­la­tion); so­cial and emo­tional skills (e.g. em­pa­thy, self-ef­fi­cacy and col­lab­o­ra­tion); and prac­ti­cal and phys­i­cal skills (e.g. us­ing new in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy de­vices).

The use of this broader range of knowl­edge and skills will be me­di­ated by at­ti­tudes and values (e.g. mo­ti­va­tion, trust, re­spect for diver­sity and virtue). The at­ti­tudes and values can be ob­served at per­sonal, lo­cal, so­ci­etal and global lev­els. While hu­man life is en­riched by the diver­sity of values and at­ti­tudes aris­ing from dif­fer­ent cul­tural per­spec­tives and per­son­al­ity traits, there are some hu­man values (e.g. re­spect for life and hu­man dig­nity, and re­spect for the en­vi­ron­ment, to name two) that can­not be com­pro­mised. If pupils are to play an ac­tive part in all di­men­sions of life, they will need to nav­i­gate through un­cer­tainty, across a wide va­ri­ety of con­texts: in time (past, present, fu­ture), in so­cial space (fam­ily, com­mu­nity, re­gion, na­tion and world) and in dig­i­tal space. They will also need to en­gage with the nat­u­ral world, to ap­pre­ci­ate its fragility, com­plex­ity and value.

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