How would you prepare if you knew you were going to embark on the most important project or task of your life; but you had no idea what it was, what skills or knowledge you need, the specific fields of operation, the scope, or the tasks involved? Think about it.
Interestingly, you'll likely come up with the same skills that tend to lead to career success, the ones that are most needed by society, and the ones that schools should be tasked with providing.
In his book Leveraged Learning: How the Disruption of Education Helps Lifelong Learners and Experts with Something to Teach, Danny Iny talks about the societal forces that are changing education, what is likely to come out of it, and what we can be doing today to prepare.
Danny talks about education as moving to a three-phased system:
- Foundational: base skills and knowledge
- Last Mile: skills and knowledge needed for specific life choices
- Continuing: skills and knowledge needed for whatever happens to be the current or next task
While large organizations like the existing institutions are likely to continue to dominate foundational education, new opportunities exist and are emerging in the areas of last mile and continuing education.
What are these skills that we'd need to prepare for the unpreperable? Iny outlines the following:
Salience: The ability to pose central problems and to ask important questions.
Novelty: An interest in and ability to find solutions for problems not tackled before. It is intellectual nonconformity, the ability to distance oneself from the established scientific theories and concepts, or artistic forms.
Ability to relate old knowledge to new problems: The opposite of novelty, this is the ability to recognize familiar patterns in seemingly new and unique problems.
Generativity and mental flexibility: The ability to generate multiple and diverse approaches to a problem is essential to the creative process in science. A scientist would be exceptionally lucky to hit upon the solution of a daunting problem from the first go.
Drive and doggedness: In a sense, the opposite of the previous, an ability to deploy sustained effort toward tackling a problem. This is about the relationship between inspiration and perspiration.
Mental wandering: The mysterious capacity for the productive and seemingly effortless pursuit of ideas wherever they take you.
Mental focus: The opposite of mental wandering, this is an ability to systemically pursue a logical train of thought.
Iconoclastic frame of mind: In order to forge ahead of society, a creative individual must be driven by a sense of dissatisfaction with the intellectual, scientific, or artistic status quo.
Resonance with central societal and cultural themes: A creative individual, and certainly a genius, is ahead of society, but his/her work must be recognized by society as important and valid in order to survive.
Social grace: Certain supremely creative individuals were known to history for their social suaveness and adaptability, and others for a notorious lack thereof.
If you're interested in options for transforming your classroom, school, or district, you might want to join in our Edchat Interactive discussion with FETC speakers Randy Ziegenfuss and Lynn Fuini-Hetton this Thursday night. For more information and to register, click on Leading Transformation, what works and what doesn't.