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So what should we be teaching the next generation?

Last week I wrote about my friend Matt, the video games designer who, just leaving university, is preparing for a career that will include jobs that have not yet even been invented. A number of readers have asked what our schools should be teaching, if all knowledge is now just a click away on Google and what we know now is likely to be out of date in a matter of months.
As part of its 25th anniversary celebrations,my friends at HTI (Heads Teachers and Industry) have interviewed more than 50 business leaders and educationalists to produce a report that tries to answer just that question. These people include Sir Martin Sorrell, Founder and CEO of advertising company WPP; Miles Templeman, Director General of the Institute of Directors and Young Enterprise Trustee; Simon Woodroffe of Yo! Sushi; and Heather Rabbatts of Millwall FC.

Here are the top nine things that these people reckon today and tomorrow’s pupils need:

  1. Very high standards in English and maths and core knowledge of key elements of science, great literature and our nation’s history.
  2. The skills to think in different ways: collaboratively in teams as well as individually; deductively as well as inductively; creatively as well as logically.
  3. The capacity and research skills to distinguish good evidence from bad – particularly important in this Google age.
  4. Confidence and enthusiasm, which can be learned through the curriculum, but equally through sport, adventurous activity, drama, music, art, public speaking and debating.
  5. Interpersonal skills and empathy; they need to understand a diverse range of viewpoints in the 21st century.
  6. A set of values that build character and send of purpose; they need that bit extra in terms of self-discipline, good manners, smartness, punctuality, respect and that old-fashioned concept of sacrifice in achieving what you want to achieve.
  7. Resilience: the capacity to handle failures or knock-backs and keep on going.
  8. An inquisitive nature, critical thinking and a self-directed approach to learning
  9. Practical as well as academic intelligence: this requires real-world opportunities and higher quality, more practical work related learning so young people can develop skills in a way that makes sense to them.

I think this is a pretty brilliant list. And it certainly plays into the agendas of the two organisations with which I am intimately involved and which, I believe, add great value to young people’s preparations for adult life. I might be tempted to add a specific reference to enterprise somewhere.

But would you add anything else?

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