I just returned from the TAISI Leadership Conference in Goa (The Association of International Schools in India). It was a wonderful opportunity to build networks and share ideas with the leaders of some of the top international schools in India.
An exceptional keynote presentation was made by Sir John Francis Jones, an award-winning educator and author from the United Kingdom. It was one of the most remarkable presentations I have ever experienced.
Sir John provided us with some amazing facts and insights as to the true value of teaching in the 21st Century. He challenged us, as teachers, to “weave magic” with our students. The importance of an effective teacher will be just as significant in the future as it is today, but in different ways. The world is changing at a faster and faster pace. 21st Century technology is transforming the world before our eyes. As a result, the role of humans in society and the economy will change.
Think about these powerful points:
- Artificial intelligence and robotics will replace 50% of human jobs over the next 25 years.
- The average lifespan will increase to 95 years in the next 25 years.
- Only humans can share the golden gifts of opportunity, passion, belief, and hope.
When we put these three points together, the question might become, “How do we as teachers prepare our students for the future?”
As we prepare our children for the future, we must help them realize that to solve problems we must rethink the way we do things, rather than try to do the same better; our children’s world will be a very different way of life.
As our future unfolds, what makes us human beings will be more important than ever. While artificial intelligence and robotics hold the potential for wonderful improvements to our way of life, they will never be able to replace what it means to be human:
- To be human is to grow creativity
- To be human is to develop ingenuity
- To be human is to bring agility
- To be human is to exercise adaptability
- To be human is to contribute sociability
Sir John left no doubt. To prepare for the future, a revolution in education is a choice we must make. Only teachers and parents can guide children to develop the social and emotional intelligence with the perspective, empathy, and compassion needed to make the world a better place. Artificial intelligence will never replace human kindness. The foundation of a revolution in education will be based upon a fundamental principle:
The quality of a school system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers.
It is up to us, as teachers, to “weave magic,” so that each of our students will look back and appreciate the difference we made in their lives because they knew how much we cared, because we modeled what it means to be human.
We will know we made this difference when our students make a difference in a similar way.