An article in the Journal of School Improvement a while back examined ten major trends and looked at the challenges they present for schools. The author, Gary Marx, begins with this ringing statement:
The status quo is a ticket to obsolescence. Why? Because the world around us is in motion, changing at dizzying speed. That’s why schools need to prepare students for a profoundly different future.
Here are those ten trends – the social seismic shifts – as identified by the author. If we want to help ready children for this changing world we need to prepare them not for the world we have known, not for the past, but for something we cannot predict and do not know.
We have an obligation to consider the changing circumstances of our world and be thoughtful about their implications for schooling and the children who will live in, and help lead and shape, that future. How is it possible to do that? What does it mean for our classrooms if we want to prepare children to thrive and succeed in that wider world that is changing fast and in unpredictable ways?
First, let’s take a look at the trends. Do they resonate with you? Do you see others out there that you would consider for the top ten list? In the article the author provides more information, explanation, examples and opens discussion of the implications for schools.
- Trend 1: For the First Time in history, the old will outnumber the young.
- Trend 2: The United States will become a nation of minorities.
- Trend 3: Social and intellectual capital will become the primary economic value in society.
(from the Industrial Age to the Global Knowledge/Information Age)
- Trend 4: Education will shift from averages to individuals. (from Standardization to Personalization)
- Trend 5: The millennial generation will insist on solutions to accumulated problems and injustices.
- Trend 6: Continuous improvement and collaboration will replace quick fixes and defense of the status quo. (from Quick Fixes and Status Quo to Continuous Improvement)
- Trend 7: Technology will increase the speed of communication and the pace of advancement or decline.
- Trend 8: Knowledge creation and breakthrough thinking will stir a new era of enlightenment. (from Information Acquisition to Knowledge Creation)
- Trend 9: Scientific discoveries and societal realities will force difficult ethical choices (from the Pragmatic to the Ethical)
- Trend 10: Competition will increase as industries and professions intensify their efforts to attract and keep talented people.
Next up: Dealing with the Trends and What does it all mean for Poughkeepsie Day School?
And, in all this continuous improvement and change, what stays the same? Are there any anchors – sandbags on the balloons of the Macy’s parade of change – and if so what are they?