John Dewey, a leader in progressive education reform at the turn of the 20th century, promoted practices in schools that would ensure a democratic society by producing graduates that were informed citizens. Even now, studies show that when women and girls in third-world countries are educated, progress is made in practically every development outcome, from mortality rates to economic growth.
At the turn of the 21st Century, in the US, we still promote democratic values in education while also striving to prepare students to face an ever-changing job market in a world that looks quite different from the past. To be successful in the next decade, individuals will need to be adaptable lifelong learners with a deep understanding in one field of study and the capacity to navigate and work in a broad range of disciplines. Think, Jack of all trades, master of one – merging generalist and specialist qualities into personal skill-sets. Additionally, the most valued and successful people of the future will be comfortable working on teams and will value and seek the input of diverse voices.
Schools play a part in preparing students for their future and can do so by providing the best program experiences for a modern workforce and below are just a few.
- Develop skills such as creativity and critical thinking;
- Integrate media literacy;
- Include experiential learning that promotes collaboration, group work, reading of social cues, and cross-cultural competencies;
- Combine interdisciplinary instruction that allows students to develop skills and knowledge in a range of subjects;
- Provide experiences with S.T.E.A.M and design-thinking that promotes the skills needed to be successful in a variety of media.