Aug 29

How Kids Want To Be Educated These Days

During a casual relief teaching job last week, I was lucky to attend an assembly at a secondary school in Melbourne. It was a school captain selection day and nominees beautifully presented their ideas to the student body. One of them particularly grabbed my interest as it echoes what Miss M Online Classes is all about – aligning education with modern realities and equipping students with the life-based knowledge.

According to one school captain candidate, students need to learn more from representatives of various professions. Ideally, this professional knowledge is to be embedded into the school curriculum. For example, students who want to run their business in the future, should have an opportunity to learn about key marketing concepts and how they work in real life from someone with entrepreneurial experience.

They are no longer curious about dry theories which are at their fingertips through online resources or business books. What they want to hear about is entrepreneurial successes and failures, how the journey of an entrepreneur is in reality vs what it looks like in advertisements or university courses. They want to be inspired by people who had to overcome tough times, raise after falling and achieve success. They want to know how to understand their own talents and monetise them.

In the fast-paced environment we live in today, teaching should not lag behind. Instead, it should be ahead in providing the knowledge and skills modern students are thirsty for. They want to receive life-based knowledge that is relevant to them, that answers their big Why questions.

It is well-known that educational outcomes are based on student’s empathy toward learning. Without intrinsic, inner motivation to digest the knowledge as opposed to keep it in the short-memory and then let it go, education is less successful. As Plato, the ancient philosopher, once said - we need to direct children to learning by what amuses their minds.

It’s not about making learning fun or easy. It is about making it relevant to children and showing them how it will benefit them personally across many different applications.

Entrepreneurship trends among students

Was it a co-incidence that a school captain nominee picked kid entrepreneurship and business education as an example? Interesting stats by the Australian research suggest entrepreneurial outcomes will be the focus of future education.

Here are a few facts that prove that:

  • Today’s school kids, including primary school students, show earlier commercial sophistication.
  • 86% of today's students regard themselves as future entrepreneurs, either full time or part time.*
  • 65% of those entering primary school today are predicted to work in entirely new job types that don’t yet exist, prompting the need for innovative enterprising.**

Recognising hands-on, life-based interest toward learning among modern students presents a huge opportunity to engage, develop, positively challenge, and educate children not only academically, but also socially. Education should not be viewed as teaching the Pythagorean theorem, but using it to apply in real life projects, such as creating a landscape design within an allocated space for students’ backyard, as an example.

A similar approach can be taken to teaching spelling through kid entrepreneurship. Only imagine kids are educated about forming comparatives and superlatives of adjectives, and they need to convince their imaginary competitors that the cakes in their café are tastier, healthier, and more nutritional through a friendly debate. The new knowledge goes through their hearts and grabs their emotions. It is highly likely they’ll retain this knowledge and apply in new circumstances.

Of course, traditional methods have many benefits and may have a place in contemporary education. However, modern teaching should recognise new ways of acquiring the knowledge. And one of the ways to excel in that is through hearing students' voice and how they want to learn.

* Mccrindle, Equipping Students for the new world of work, Infographics, 2022 and Understanding Generation Alpha.
** World Economic Forum, The Future Of Jobs and Skills, 2016.
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