How do schools educate the next generation of leaders?
The article by Henry Doss, in Forbes highlights, Innovation: Five keys to educating the next generation of leaders. He points out that the focus of future leaders needs to be innovation, problem solving and opportunity. One of Henry Doss’ concerns is the lack of leadership development in education.
The question is, does leadership need to change, to meet the needs of innovation in the future, within an ever fast-paced environment?
Over history, we have been able to note the same key principles and attributes of leaders, when compared over time. It is not the leadership principals that need to be changed, but rather the way in which that leadership is administered. For example, good communication has always been key to good leadership, however the difference today is not whether or not we value communication, it is simply how we choose to communicate in the future. It may have been acceptable to use pigeon post in the past, while we might have the expectation of our leaders to be more available by way of their smartphones in the future. The core leadership principles still remain the same.
Should the way we lead stay the same in the future?
While the leadership principles remain the same, there are many different leadership models on how to lead. The most common leadership structure has always been hierarchical, where directors instruct and give orders from the top down. Successful leadership models in the future will need to generate ideas collaboratively from their team and empower others to implement their ideas on a more even playing field. Teamwork is key and dictatorships are being challenged by a new generation of leaders.
How do we educate for change and innovation?
Encourage children to develop deeper thinking skills through problem solving and invention. We want children to overcome the fear of failure and have the curiosity to seek out new opportunities. This idea of seeking out new ideas, without pre-qualifying them is a liberating experience that can be the catalyst for invention. One can always analyse and qualify an idea later at the drawing board. The emphasis on invention and creativity will become imperative, for the longevity of an organization in the future.
How will we teach the next generation these skills of the future?
Dialogue together as a community. Discuss and decide on what these leadership principles and skills might be. Place these leadership principles and skills in the heart of shared social values in the community. Create context within learning experiences that are meaningful to students, teaching children how to connect appropriately with each other and with the world around them. Be a good role model of good leadership qualities and character. Be a good team player - roll up your sleeves and working alongside your students.
In this way you will foster heartfelt leadership that is democratic and values based; leadership that respects and serves others towards the common good; leaders that can be innovative and creative. These are the leaders of the future.
The role of e-learning in the New zealand curriculum and how it will affect students of the 21st century.
The E in Elearning and what doe it mean?
The “E” in front of E-learning has been the cause for much debate recently. It started off meaning anything electronic, technology used for the purposes of learning in education. We saw the Powerpoint presentations and the use of the computer to type up student’s written work as authors, editors and publishers.
This is all still very worthwhile, but E-learning has become so much more. David Kinane of Dakinane.com describes E-learning as blended learning. David is an education consultant and leader in E-learning, working with a number of school leadership teams to empower teachers towards providing incredibly engaging 21st Century learning. My immediate thought was, that doesn’t start with “E”! Well, no it doesn’t! The “E” in front of E-learning is confusing everyone, according to David. It is widely agreed amongst E-learning professionals that one day the “E” will simply drop off and we will just call it, “learning”.
Well, isn’t that just going back to what we had before? The short answer is, definitely not! There is nothing inferior about what was being taught before, however we need to acknowledge that times are changing and the way that students are interacting with technology and within their learning environment is changing, too! I have seen many 3 year old children handling their parent’s smartphones with ease and intense concentration. We can’t stop it, its already happening and the question is, do we need to? There is much debate around these issues and we’re not advocating that one should throw out the importance of young children interacting with the world around them through play and investigation – inquiry being a very necessary skill to develop for later on in their learning journey. We sometimes tend to think in absolutes and I don’t think it is this or that – I think that in this situation it is like a two-sided coined, both this and that!
The way children engage in learning today is different today. What grabbed their attention ten years ago, simply does not grab their attention today. If a teacher thinks they are going to put on a video for an hour and call that E-learning, they are mistaken. While it may involve using video clips and internet URL links, students need to also engage in their own research, in collaboration with their peers. They should be working on topics of interest to them, being free to be innovative and creative, using technological tools in a blended learning environment.
E-learning is not an end in and of itself and should never become that way. It is simply a tool, just like the pencil and paper that can be used to aid and assist learning to take place. One of my old senior teachers would always say, “Is learning taking place? That’s all that matters!” Children learn when they are interested in the learning process that is taking place. If they are screaming, “Save me, I’m bored!” then we are in trouble! E-learning should be more concerned with the process and skill development than being placed in the, “Look at me, look at me, look at me!” category. E-learning is a means not an end in itself.
E-learning will eventually become a non-focus and the blended learning processes that are used in conjunction with technology and student collaboration, should become the emphasis.
The most important question is, “Is learning taking place that is authentic and engaging for students?”
I am an educator and researcher, with over 20 years experience across education. I look forward to using research to progress education in the 21st Century. I have a Post. Grad. Ed. Lead. & Admin. from Massey University, New Zealand