What Will Education Look Like in 100 years?
Email question from a parent: I’m thrilled that you’ve started working with my son, and intrigued with your comment from the workshop that education may not change much in the next 100 years but on the other hand the need for it to change has never been bigger. What did you mean by that and do you really think that education won’t change much in the future?
John’s answer: It’s true. If you look back at education and the actual structure of how much has or has not changed, education hasn’t changed much over the past 100 years. And it’s hard to imagine that education will change much in the future. Indeed the future of education is a hotly debated subject. I tend to think of it as a worst case versus best case scenario.
In this post, I’ll look at the worst case scenario and save the best case for later this week. I think that it’s worth it to ponder the worst case scenario and understanding the trends before jumping to the work that I’m doing through Academic Life Coaching and our Life Coaching for teens program.
Worst Case Education Scenario Based on Current Trends in Education
Students still go to a classroom from September to June, sit in rooms where teachers do most of the talking while students listen.
The bulk of how well students have learned are still tests that do not test creativity or self-knowledge, but rather test known facts or procedures that have some use but still only address a limited range of human intelligence.
And there is a trend in the United States to strengthen the kind of learning that focuses on academic content and what content students need to know in order to be successful. As long as educators and policy makers are focused on the outside content that students need to learn rather than looking at the character traits or personality virtues that students can develop, we are going to continue to provide the kind of education that misses the mark.
Ironically, I’ve found that the best way for students to learn academic content is to focus on their character strengths and how they can step up and be leaders in their classrooms and take charge of their life.
Will that trend change? Probably not in the near future. The current push will merely create more of the same low test scores and underperforming students simply because it’s misdiagnosing the problem. The problem isn’t better instruction on the academic content. The problem is that students are lost because they have poor self-knowledge of their inner strengths and resiliency as well as very little awareness of their personal strengths or even how they as individuals learn best.