By Kellie-Ann Robinson
As children are going back to school for term 4, parents everywhere are no doubt looking forward to the house filled with less mess, conflict and negotiation; yet it’s these critical skills they learn whilst away from school that are important for their future.
According to a study conducted by Oxford academics, Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne, within the next two decades, a staggering 47 per cent of jobs will be made redundant thanks to computerisation. Whilst this is hardly the first time our global community has seen this phenomenon, the pace of technological innovation is still increasing with more sophisticated software technologies continuing to disrupt the jobs market.
Preparing our children for this future is about ensuring they have the right skills. Skills like negotiation, people management, critical thinking, creativity and problem solving. It’s these skills that can ensure that individuals are well skilled for roles that are most immune to automation because these roles require the social orientation, originality and creativity of the human mind.
In Future Frontiers, an Education for an AI World, the author Iram Siraj states that whilst schools are focussed on the development of these skills in curriculums; home and family networks also have a very important role to play in nurturing and enriching a child’s development in this area.
In some respects, we need to regress to progress. Children need the unstructured time (free of devices) within their homes or backyards; resolving their conflicts with friends and siblings, planning their next adventure or leading the gang to build the treehouse. As a mother myself, I recently accepted that the mess and obsession with slime makes for an inquisitive mind, and that by iteration after iteration my children seek to improve their creation – adding this, subtracting that for perfect consistency and the resulting variations on glittered, clear or coloured. Honing their problem-solving skills. Flexing their creativity.
So when you drop the kids off tomorrow at school. Breathe out. The house may be quiet for a while (if you’re at home), or work might feel strangely calmer knowing they are somewhere safe and familiar…but know your kids are better off for the skills they learned whilst on holidays from learning.
NSW Department of Education Publication. http://theconversation.com/teaching-kids-21st-century-skills-early-will-help-prepare-them-for-their-future-87179