How can the traditional model of education support students to handle a world where some of the greatest challenges await them? Population explosion, food shortages, energy crises, water shortages, global warming… the list goes on.
The problem with the traditional education system is that there is still a very strong emphasis on categorizing students through "grading" as either "successful" or "unsuccessful". Equally as daunting is the far-reaching trend across most school systems of the ranking importance of Language Arts, Mathematics and Science over others. Subjects like the Arts, are given minimal importance. Traditional schools not only categorize and place "ceilings" on the potential of students but they often do not honour the value of talent in areas other than traditional subjects.
Using this approach, we may actually be isolating students who can become pivotal contributors in finding innovative solutions to these world problems. What the future needs is creative thinking (often cultivated through the Arts), collaboration and an entrepreneurial mentality. Children need to learn to think like, and take risks like entrepreneurs. Failures need to be experienced, discussed and learned from in great detail. While failure is not viewed as valuable in our current society and school systems, it will be a key ingredient in cultivating a healthy, thriving society of tomorrow.
Solving problems is not easy. There's trial and error and building new ideas from the back of those that didn't work. Sometimes failures lead to new discoveries or opportunities. Just think about the success of thePost-It Notes which were discovered by company 3M's failure at making a highly-adhesive glue. Even Edison's creation of the telephone was initially supposed to be a microphone. We can see that failure is linked to innovation in many ways.
We need to upgrade our school systems so that the world's toughest problems can be solved by bright minds who see failure as part of a process that can lead to great success. It's time to cultivate a creative, collaborative ecosystem that supports children in thinking outside-the-box.