This month’s thought piece from John Brett in the EADT Education section.
To ask a class of 10 year old children what they think about Brexit or Donald Trump is to unleash a frenzy of opinion, debate, argument and comment such as you could not possibly imagine. Think Prime Minister’s Questions, only much, much worse! Children are fascinated by the world into which they are growing and often quite perplexed by the way in which ‘grown ups’ conduct themselves and by many of the decisions they make. In the age of seemingly limitless access to unregulated information, it is small wonder that children struggle to make much sense of the world around them.
For many schools, Global Awareness has now become a vital part of the core curriculum, employing as it does important skills of discernment, creative thinking, collaboration and communication in the understanding of global issues. Through it, pupils are able to explore issues that have traditionally been absent from the curriculum and are encouraged to consider how we know what we know by looking at sources, statistics and stories, as well as considering their own personal values and identities.
Such opportunities are a far cry from the educational framework of just a generation ago. The world of work, including global awareness, and the school curriculum are now inextricably linked in terms of giving pupils the necessary tools to really make the best of the opportunities they will face in a few short years’ time. This now strong and important connection, is giving all curriculum subjects licence to explore new areas of understanding, application and context. The skill of oracy for example, the ability to express oneself fluently and accurately, has never been more essential in modern global business communications and schools can begin to develop this skill from the very early years building up confidence and self-assuredness along the way. The ‘try three before me’ teaching technique is another good example of how modern teaching can help children to develop skills of cooperation and collaboration that one would find in the workplace. If you have a problem, don’t go straight to the boss for an answer, try to find three ways of solving it first. If you still can’t solve it, then you can legitimately ask for help!
The world will always throw up unexpected, unpredictable, bewildering scenarios with which we have to cope and manage. That we know this to be the case, should give us all the clues we need in terms of helping children build a strong platform on which to build their futures.