Dear Par­ents, wel­come to the Real World

Jamaica Gleaner - - ARTS & EDUCATION - Brit­tany Singh Wil­liams Con­trib­u­tor Brit­tany Singh Wil­liams is founder of SPARK Ed­u­ca­tion Ltd, and se­nior ad­viser to the min­is­ter of state in the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, Youth and In­for­ma­tion

MODERN ED­U­CA­TION is all about em­pow­er­ing stu­dents with trans­fer­able skills that will hold up to a rapidly chang­ing world. The cur­rent co­hort of stu­dents com­prises of chil­dren from both Gen­er­a­tion Z (born be­tween 1992-2009) and Gen­er­a­tion Al­pha (born af­ter 2010). Gen Z and Gen Al­pha stu­dents learn and think dif­fer­ently than Mil­len­ni­als. They are in­flu­enced by the fast- chang­ing land­scape that sur­rounds them, mak­ing them more global, so­cial, visual, and tech­no­log­i­cal.

Well-ad­justed Gen-Z and Al­pha chil­dren have ex­pertly in­te­grated tech­nol­ogy into their daily lives. They are bet­ter mul­ti­taskers and are able to han­dle var­i­ous soft­ware ap­pli­ca­tions at the same time, how­ever, stud­ies have found that they of­ten have shorter at­ten­tion spans. For them, mak­ing use of and analysing in­for­ma­tion quickly is cru­cial in or­der to adapt and to func­tion. The de­liv­ery of in­for­ma­tion to this co­hort of stu­dents must, there­fore, be rel­e­vant, tar­geted, in­no­va­tive, and cre­ative.

Tech­nol­ogy is a key to pre­par­ing these stu­dents for their fu­tures. We must be­come more tech­nol­ogy savvy in or­der to re­late to our chil­dren and to help them nav­i­gate it re­spon­si­bly. As adults, we of­ten think of tech­nol­ogy as merely for en­ter­tain­ment and so­cial­is­ing, but for Gen Z and Al­pha chil­dren, it’s a key to un­lock­ing cre­ativ­ity and self-ex­pres­sion. Let us en­cour­age them to utilise tech­nol­ogy in pro­duc­tive ways as a tool to teach, to or­gan­ise, for con­tent de­liv­ery, for as­sign­ments, and, for project re­search.

En­sur­ing that our chil­dren are able to re­spond to rapid changes and the han­dling of new, rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion will re­quire en­gage­ment in an ecosys­tem that goes be­yond the tra­di­tional class­room.

The idea of ex­pand­ing and cre­at­ing new kinds of teach­ing and learn­ing en­vi­ron­ments is not a new one, but it has be­come nec­es­sary for to­day’s par­ents to be more de­lib­er­ate in help­ing chil­dren process the vast and ever-evolv­ing world through var­i­ous forms of ex­pe­ri­ences.


Our chil­dren live in a dy­namic world, and we should en­sure that they grasp the depth of it. We would bet­ter serve them by ex­pos­ing them to ac­tiv­i­ties that will en­hance knowl­edge, de­velop cre­ativ­ity and a healthy un­der­stand­ing of it while dis­cov­er­ing and show­cas­ing their tal­ents and in­ter­ests. This will give them a bet­ter per­spec­tive of where they are po­si­tioned and their own value.

Stud­ies sug­gest that Gen Z chil­dren learn best by do­ing – cre­at­ing things, vi­su­al­is­ing and con­nect­ing their class­room ex­pe­ri­ence to the larger world around them. For ex­am­ple, give your child a greater un­der­stand­ing of civic lit­er­acy and hu­man de­vel­op­ment by get­ting in­volved in a com­mu­nity vol­un­teer pro­gramme. This may help him to see and de­velop a new ap­pre­ci­a­tion for peo­ple in the com­mu­nity who he may not have other­wise en­gaged with. Seek out af­ter-school pro­grammes that chal­lenge and sharpen skills that are rel­e­vant to­day as well as the 4C’s of the Na­tional Stan­dards Cur­ricu­lum – cre­ativ­ity, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, crit­i­cal think­ing and col­lab­o­ra­tion.


It is very im­por­tant for us to take note of the cu­riosi­ties of our chil­dren. Some with broader in­ter­ests have been dis­cour­aged or side­lined in school and at home. This prac­tice can have an ad­verse im­pact on them and the fu­ture work­force to have a sin­gu­lar skill set and make for a shal­low pool of tal­ent, lim­it­ing our na­tional po­ten­tial. Let us in­stead en­cour­age their gifts and tal­ents. If they en­joy cook­ing – let them cook. If it’s paint­ing, let them paint!

This is a time of tran­si­tion for all of us as we move to­wards the Pri­mary Exit Pro­file (PEP). It re­quires a change of ap­proach for all of us as par­ents, guardians and child-cen­tred prac­ti­tion­ers. As we move away from re­ly­ing mostly on rote class­room learn­ing to the new, we each play a part in mak­ing learn­ing rel­e­vant and trans­fer­able to modern trends. The class­room has al­ready ex­panded far out­side the four walls of a school build­ing to the wide world and the web. Let’s bet­ter pre­pare our chil­dren for the real world!

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