Educating the Present Children for the Future
It is an unusual era in the field of education. Some concerned educational institutions like Pax et Lumen believe that as schools update the skills and knowledge base of teachers to prepare the children of the 21st century for their future, schools should also take along the parents in their children’s own education journey. Why is this so? Today’s parents are different from their parents (now the grandparents of children of school age). Today’s parents were born right before the use of the internet and the affordability of personal computers. They had the good experience of moving from the printed age to the digital age. They were trained to read printed books and did most of their researches in the library (if they were serious students who did not want to limit their learning to the textbooks they were required to buy or rent). And while they were in their teens, they learned how to operate a computer and play some computer games. They learned how to e-mail and must have stopped using the snail mail or sending Christmas cards or birthday cards along the way. And yes, they sent text messages in good readable language or otherwise. Now these children have become parents. Their children are given iPads to play games on (whose games– game experts say– are not as good as the games that Nintendo does to children: training them to think as they play). Their children have cell phones at an early age. So they must have learned how to write in shorter words. The reading and writing skills are not as well-developed as their grandparents’ and their parents’ at the same age. And they are more visual in their orientation. These children could also have limited concentration span when it comes to the slower “talk and chalk” method of some teachers. Though reading and computational skills can be levelled up in school, it is the value formation and character development that present the most challenge to most schools. For these are the essential ingredients for a child to do well in the future. Busy parents do not have time to monitor their children’s learning process, so they hire tutors to guide the children along. The hiring of tutors for children who are already doing well in school is a controversial ones for educators who believe in encouraging a child to learn independently. Tutoring does bring skills enhancement; but is it not better for the child to try and do his homework by himself so that he will know where he will need more practice? Doesn’t working and studying alone bring the discipline of concentration and independent learning– much needed in a future job? Working out a problem by oneself, a teacher would say, develops patience, resourcefulness, and creativity. In short, it can help build character. Now comes the picture of the future– how will the future look like? Definitely, there will be more people who will need the same basic needs: food shelter, clothing, leisure time, education, health care, etc. How does one provide for these ‘more’ people? The answer, many say, is in technology which already has made living more convenient, but also more overwhelming. New gadgets mean more technological know-how. New computer programs for certain tasks means versatility to using them. Moreover, one has to deal with he amount of data that is available in the internet which is more than what an average school library can have. But because of the “velocity, volume, and variety” of data that is being shared through the internet, an ordinary person can be more informed and can make better decisions, especially if one is in the fields that need updated and complete data. These are the good side of the internet, and to a certain extent, of the social media. But there can be the bad side, too. One can be bullied not only in school but also through the internet. Negative actions can be carried out through various media that use the internet. And others do not necessarily look for the best quality sources of information and might even use the internet for base or negative activities. As one teacher once remarked: “if there is so much to learn from in the internet, why do some people behave the way the people in the 19th and 20th century behave?” But to schools, the biggest challenge is convincing parents that learning certain skills like independent learning, logical thinking, clear communication, knowing how to do complete “staff or spade work”, learning how to work in a small group, learning how to scour the internet for the best information and data available through the use of technology– are the skills needed for the future. It has been said by many technology and educational experts that nobody has any idea how the future jobs look like. In effect, the children of today are being trained for jobs that do not exist– yet. A study done in 2010 showed that 6 out of 10 most ‘in demand’ jobs that year showed that these did not yet exist in 2004. Related to this is the growing awareness of our labor experts that as new jobs are created, jobs also become obsolete (out of time, not needed anymore). So if you are a parent, and you want your children to survive economically or financially in 2025 and beyond, what kind of courses would you like your children to attend, or skills would you would like them to have? And what kind of a person should he be? This is the reason why Pax et Lumen was established– to help parents find a way for their children to develop their good qualities through self-competition (and group cooperation) and develop learning skills nimble enough for them to continue learning so that they can move from one job to another as new jobs are created and as old ones are abolished. And more importantly, they are being trained to find what they can do as individuals, totally dependent only on themselves.