Learning, Believing, Achieving – The School’s Role in Developing Social and Resilient People
Date: June 24, 2019 Posted by: Sue Wicks
I was fortunate enough to listen to a podcast recently of Bernard Salt who presented to the Independent Schools State Forum last month. He also visited Cairns earlier in the year where he spoke about the changing demographics of Cairns and the region and what we can expect in the future.
His recent podcast focused on a school’s role in developing social and resilient people. Resilience is a key character trait of successful people. Life is full of challenges and hurdles and we need our young people to move positively into their futures, able to deal with the challenges and hurdles they will face and pick themselves up and get back on the bike after each setback.
Jobs of the Future: Bernard explains that the nature of work is changing so rapidly that a university graduate of today will have at least 16 or 17 jobs over a 40-year working life. Consequently, they will need to pitch their skills many times over that journey. Given that we don’t know the specific skill sets required in 2035, the key personal characteristics will be traits like agility, adaptability and flexibility so that you can adjust your technical skills to a variety of environments.
In addition, the changing social element of work will increase the importance of the ability to work and connect with others. Traits such as self-confidence, emotional intelligence and self-esteem become more important. The ability to walk up to a group of people you don’t know, introduce yourself, and engage in meaningful conversation will be a marker of success. Whilst these are sometimes labelled as “soft skills”, nevertheless they will become more critical for success in the workplace.
The Impact of Social media: Bernard discusses the trend of young people coming into a job interview and looking down, unable to look the interviewer in the eye and engage in an interesting and meaningful fashion. He also references the value of “fit-in-ability” – young people who have self-confidence but not arrogance, agreeability, adaptability and the skill of conversation with a range of audiences.
From my perspective, social media is gaining further importance for our young people as it continues to become even more ubiquitous. Whilst technology, the internet and social media have great potential for good, it also ushers in opportunities for bullying and offensiveness and further changing of our social mores. As individuals, there isn’t a great deal we can do to halt this, but it is crucial that we educate our children on the dangers inherent, how best to deal with offensive content (such as bullying), and how to ensure mature, responsible use by the individual.
Parent and school relationship: Parent expectations have changed over the years. Generally speaking, he feels that Gen X children were “indulged” compared to previous generations, but that millennials are subtly changing their position. Issues such as rationing screen time and supporting their kids through disappointment, rather than excusing and defending, indicate parents are becoming more attuned to the current problems faced by their kids. “Smoothing the way for your kids is not in their best interest”.
He touches on a wide range of other issues, such as the importance of the partnership between school and home, engaging parents in a culture of outsourcing, the changing student and creating attributes for success.
It is a well worth a listen.