What skills do children need for their future?

What should become the new normal in education? Digital and AI technologies are transforming the world of work and today’s workforce will need to learn new skills so they are ready for whatever is presented. Therefore, the educational experience has to be fit for purpose. Its aim is to equip children to take ownership and find a sense of purpose. In the face of a complex and ever-changing world, education will make the difference if children are equipped with the right skills and attitudes to face these challenges head on. 

Recently I have been re-reading the OECD’s 2018 report: The Future of Education and Skills 2030. The report documents the findings and the work of their project team. Their aim was to help countries find answers to two far-reaching questions:

  1. What knowledge, skills, attitudes and values will today’s students need to thrive and shape their world?
  2. How can instructional systems develop these knowledge, skills, attitudes and values effectively? 

What’s needed?

Reflect on your children or young people joining your workplace, what skills and attitudes do you think that they need? Big questions need big answers! One of the report’s key findings was ‘learner agency’. In layman’s terms: a child having a sense of responsibility and being able to identify actions to achieve a goal. We echo this commitment to ‘learner agency’. Our teaching practice is evidence based and informed by the educators and researchers shown around our Big Picture. Crucially, at the heart is each pupil, armed with knowledge of the science of learning, intelligent learning behaviours, and cognitive tools and strategies. They are equipped to thrive and shape their world, no matter how uncertain or complex it appears.

Is Metacognition the answer?

Metacognition and self-regulation are rated by the EEF’s Teaching and Learning Toolkit as ‘high impact for very low cost‘, based on extensive research. Our central focus at Meta Prep, is about giving each pupil a repertoire of cognitive (thinking) tools and strategies. Our weekly sessions and holiday workshops prepare ‘meta-learners’. These children are capable of understanding themselves, reflective about their own learning and know how to make progress, whatever challenge they are set. Above all, this results in significant progress above what a child might have been predicted or expected to achieve. Most importantly, it fosters a lifelong love of learning that enables children to thrive at school and beyond.

Becoming a Meta-Learner

Meta-learners delight in answering questions such as “what does the back of a rainbow look like?”  These don’t necessarily have a correct answer but provide space for reasoning and reflection.  Additionally, they can apply logic when asked, “what angles does the hour hand of a clock rotate between 1am and 8am?”  This definitely does have a correct answer and allows the meta-learner a chance to apply their previous knowledge and skills.

Our teachers are all trained as ‘cognitive coaches’. Their objective is the explicit development of independent ‘meta-learners’ and is based on the science of learning. They question skilfully, provide expert feedback, gamify their lessons to engage their pupils and use metacognitive visual tools that enable their pupils to see and reflect on their thinking. Looking back and evaluating the task should not be underestimated. This attitude, once embedded, is crucial for cultivating responsibility.

The skills that children need are critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration so that they can take responsibility and become active participants in their learning.

World Economic Forum, 2015