When I was at High School in the 1960s half the girls learned typing so they could become typists and office workers when they left school. Computers put an end to that. (Now typing is hardly taught in schools even though we all have computers – go figure!)
At High School I worked on the weekends at a petrol station filling cars with petrol – computers put an end to that job too. Today, most people have never even experienced having personal service at a petrol station. (They used to be called ‘Service Stations’ in those days!)
As the technology of computers, the Internet, satellite communications, optical fibre cables and mobile devices has developed, many people have lost their jobs because their skills became obsolete.
The Rate of Change is Accelerating
As change happens faster and faster, people working in virtually every profession are being forced to retrain on a regular basis, and many professions are being replaced entirely by technology and automation.
It won’t be long before we have robots in most homes and workplaces, and 3-D printers to make things for ourselves instead of having to go to the shops to buy them.
You don’t believe me? People are already using 3-D printing to build houses and offices out of industrial and building waste:
And what about when transport is automated and we move around in driverless cars and trucks!
Managing Change Is the Primary Skill Needed for the 21st Century
The problem is that human beings find change intellectually difficult, and, emotionally stressful.
Governments around the world are trying to revamp their education systems to help people learn how to deal with change better.
For example, the Australian Government’s National Curriculum for the 21st Century is based on the principal
‘that all young people in Australia should be supported to become successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens.’
Also that children need to develop
‘a strong sense of identity and wellbeing, are connected with and contribute to their world, are confident and involved learners and effective communicators.’
To achieve these aims The Australian Curriculum suggests we need high levels of skills in seven general capabilities:
- Information and communication technology (ICT) capability
- Critical and creative thinking
- Personal and social capability
- Ethical understanding
- Inter-cultural understanding
Can you say you are highly skilled in all these areas?
What about the children you know?
You can download the book to see the enormous amount of work required to acquire skills in all these areas here: General Capabilities in the Australian Curriculum
It’s Scary, But It’s Even Scarier for Our Children
Very few of our children leave school with high level skills in all of these seven areas – many children do not master all the necessary skills in even one of the areas.
This means that our children are not being adequately prepared intellectually, emotionally or socially for successful adult lives.
Structural Change in Our Society
The 20th Century saw the rise of the Middle Class but the trend is being reversed in the 21st Century as Middle Class jobs are being automated.
What worries me is that the next round of automation will replace many of the workers in lower class jobs too.
The most secure workers in coming decades will be in the highly skilled jobs, AND, be highly skilled at change.
Learning Content Vs Learning Skills
Nearly everyone who contacts us for educational help tells us that they want help with things like Reading, Maths, Science, Statistics, Economics, etc. In other words they nearly always asking for help with content.
But . . .
The reason that most people have trouble learning content is that they are having trouble with the learning – the cause of their problem is that they are using inappropriate learning techniques.
The biggest misconception most people have about learning is that they think learning is the same as remembering. This means that the main learning technique they use in most learning tasks is practice – also called rote learning.
This is so ingrained for many of our new students that we have to spend a considerable amount of our effort on helping them let go of the motto ‘Practice Makes Perfect’ before we can teach them what they want to learn.
Coping With Change Vs Preparing for Change
We are all struggling to keep up with the amount of change being forced on us by new technology, and that rate of change is accelerating, so it is hard to focus on learning to become better at change.
The trouble is, if you put your head in the sand then you are likely to get run over.
The best way to prepare for the future is to get better at learning so you can learn all the new stuff faster and better. If you need help with improving your learning skills then consider working with us at High Performance Learning. We are able to offer individual tuition to people anywhere in the world using the latest online technology. If you live in Adelaide you can work with us in the flesh at our lovely office at Eden Hills. If you want to learn more go here: Online Tutoring and Tuition in Our Adelaide Office.
Contact us now to organise a free 15 minute consultation.
Get out of the 20th Century mindset now – we are already more than 20% of the way through the 21st Century!
High Performance Learning
I welcome your comments. You can add them below.