Met up with the 2011 – 2012 class a couple of weeks ago. They are now graduated, moving on to tertiary education. As I asked them where they were each headed to, I realised many of them gave me names of courses which didn’t even exist a short decade ago. The fancy names just flew right over my head. Names like: Eco-engineering. Green Technology. Maritime-something-Something. Nautical-something else. Energy – something else else.
I was reminded of a quote I read somewhere before, poignantly reminding us that the students we teach today are going to work in jobs, half of which have not even been created yet. How true I have realized this to be.
So what are we preparing students for, really? Are we preparing them to ace their exams, only to find that whatever they have studied is irrelevant in the real world? Or are we preparing them to have strength of character, creativity in problem solving through relating to different people and situations, among many more things they will need for the world which has yet been created? Even as the fancy names flew over my head, I found myself reflecting on their time as students in the classroom, thinking about what I have done to prepare them for the careers and contributions they will eventually make to society.
And I found myself thinking: Because of the Thing we know as the Mark and Grade, even skills like creativity and thinking out of the box have become successfully conditioned and packaged to a set of checklists, rubrics, and numbers. They then find their way into Scheme of Works, portfolios and reviews, looking good in black against 80gsm printing paper.
How much of modern education really prepares us for the world we eventually live in? Or has much of education, with it’s increased availability in developed countries, become simply another motion and stage of life we go through? Because it has become the Norm?
Much more to think about.