The Future of Learning depends on teachers who are passionate about learners and skilled at their craft, who also see themselves as learners. Where learning is more about change than knowledge acquisition.
When I speak or facilitate workshops about the future of learning and the disruptions we are facing today, I often sense angst in the audience when I mention shifts in professional practice and the changing role of the teacher. I point out that didactic teaching is one tool, within a toolbox at a teacher’s disposal, and make it clear that we will always need great teachers who are passionate about the learners, the learning, and have deep knowledge to impart. These teachers seek to find the potential within each of their students and want them to succeed.
Yet, in the obvious face of change, evident in every aspect of our lives, there are those who seem committed to maintaining the status quo, who see change as merely a pendulum that will eventually swing back. ‘Back to where?’ I often wonder, when in reality the pendulum has been ripped out and we are checking time on our smartphones, anyway.
My recent curiosity around this was sparked by reading about Jacob Morgan and his book, The Future of Work, in an inflight magazine. Whatever our life’s work we need to be a perpetual learner. He wrote:
Being a perpetual learner means that you must accept the idea that learning never stops… ever. Your job is to think of yourself as an app that has regular updates and bug fixes. You are the killer app! But if everything around you changes rapidly while you don’t, you will quickly find yourself in a difficult situation”
(What is the Future of Work? Virgin Australia, August 2018 p. 123)
As perpetual learners each of us are the chief developer of the app-of-me, taking responsibility for the updates and bug-fixes, in order to stay relevant and fresh. In education, as in many workplaces today, the onus is increasingly on the employee to take responsibility for career development, to improve and update their app-of-me.
If your default position is resistant to change, perhaps you do need a new perspective. Step out of your comfort zone and teach at another school, work in a new team, or openly declare that you are making a new start in situ. It’s scary. You have so much to offer, don’t allow your fear of change, or negative voices around you, to impact how your see your potential or your future.
Here are some reflective questions for your own app development:
How long have I been working in my current school? Is it too long?
Do I need a perspective of another school, context or new challenge?
Every year, do I just expect to have the same – routines, workspace, classroom, furniture, classes – as I have always had?
Is my inclination to resist change consistently stronger than seeing the potential of the opportunities presented to me?
Are professional development opportunities only for compliance or are they essential for being a perpetual learner?
What’s your next step? Your honest responses will provide your answer.
Refresh and stay fresh.