“How do you prepare children for the future when you are not even sure what the future will be?”
I remember my professor back in 2001 asking me that question prior to my completion of my teaching degree. I spent days researching and writing my massive response (all saved to a floppy disk). Little did I know at the time, the question my professor asked would be a question asked every year, every month and every day throughout my teaching career.
What will the future of education look like? My students are still at their prime in their educational career. What I teach them is the foundation, knowing fully well that their educational career will be vastly different than those students I taught back when I first finished college.
The technology is rapidly changing and it is hard to predict just how much technology will continue to change. With technology changing as quickly as it is, it seems almost impossible to keep up with what to teach and what will be important in the future (I remember taking keyboarding classes and now that is basically unheard of!)
Even with all the changes and uncertainties about the future, one thing that should never change is teaching the children the importance of human relationships and how to show compassion, empathy and respect for everyone they encounter, whether it be in person or on the computer. In other words, treating people like people.
In the wake of the recent U.S. election, it is more and more apparent that the human relationship and how people should be treated is not being addressed and therefore many people are lacking in the ability to treat others as people with respect and dignity.
Dan Pink spoke of the things that motivated people the most, and at the end of his speech he states:
“If we start treating people like people, and not assuming they are horses, slower, smaller better smelling horses…we can make organizations that are better off and make our world a little better
I also recently read the book, Leadership and Self-Deception-getting out of the box that discusses the importance of treating others as people in any situation whether good or bad, “A family, a company-both are organizations of people” (p.177).
Learning and understanding one another as people and understanding the differences help create a culture of respect. Children, even at a young age can learn to treat others fairly, show respect, compassion and empathy for their peers despite their differences. Many opportunities arise during free play or group projects where children have to learn to compromise and come to an agreement on their differences. Even lining up for recess is a perfect time to remind children to not shove and push their way in a line, but to wait and line up orderly, remembering that everyone is feeling the same way they are.
Understanding that other people are people with feelings and thoughts is difficult for young learners, but with modeling and reminding, they will understand in time and begin thinking about others as people just like themselves.