Thursday, 20 February 2020

5 Ways to Prepare Today's Students for Tomorrow's World

5 Ways to Prepare Today's Students for Tomorrow's World

The future belongs to those who prepare for it today. – Malcolm X

Given the way rapid digitalization and technological advancement is changing our world, today’s students who will be tomorrow’s professionals, need to be better equipped with a wide range of life skills to cater to the ever-evolving needs of the future. Only limiting the learning to books will be rendered redundant and thriving in their jobs, vocations and businesses will call for stronger skill sets that will not only help shape their personality but also enable them to achieve & maintain a successful career. Hence, it is critical that student activities teach skills like technological literacy, critical thinking, cognitive flexibility, teamwork, networking and socializing, innovation, leadership skills, etc. right from their school days to ensure that they are holistically groomed to face tomorrow’s world.

Here are 5 Ways to prepare today's students for tomorrow's world and help them realize their complete potential:

#1 Innovation & Continuous Learning

·         STEM: While focusing on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), encourage students to question not just ‘why’, but also ‘why not’.
·         Technological Literacy: Include basic/advanced information about new age technologies like coding and programing, cyber security, data protection, data analytics, etc. at school level to enhance their technical awareness.
·         Healthy Competition: Make them participate regularly in competitions like hackathons, pitch fests, etc. to provide a platform to students to display their innovations.
·         Appreciation: Reward the innovative ideas and try to implement them, so that students get to experience their ‘real world’ application.  
·         Collaborative Learning: Teachers should ask open-ended questions in class that will lead to teamwork, leadership skill development, out-of-box thinking, etc.
·         Critical Thinking: Focus on student activities that not only encourage ‘problem solving’ but also focus on ‘problem finding’.
·         Unstructured Playing/Activities: Give them time and conducive conditions for unstructured playing/activities, this will help cultivate innovative thinking.

#2 Entrepreneurship & Leadership

·         Pitch Ideas & Concepts: Introduce ‘Shark Tank’ like concept where students can pitch their innovative ideas on various issues.
·         Personal Brand: Educate them about creating a positive personal brand online and offline.
·         Set Goals & Chase: Help them set goals for themselves, guide them wherever necessary to help them achieve these targets.
·         Rewards & Appreciation:  Reward them when these goals are achieved to boost their morale.
·         Role Models: Children learn more by observing than by following instructions, so make sure as a teacher/parent you are a good role model for them.
·         Mentors: Find accomplished mentors for the students who can provide technical, financial and strategic guidance. 
·         Decision Making: Strengthen their decision-making abilities by involving them in smallest discussions of family/class.
·         Listen: Let them articulate their beliefs & decisions and patiently hear their viewpoints before adding your opinions.
·         Foresight: Encourage children to foresee and grab opportunities around them.
·         Interaction with Experts: Student activities in schools and colleges should include interactions of  Entrepreneurs and Innovators with students, through a one-on-one interaction or other technology channels to inspire them.  

#3 Adaptability

·         Changing Dynamics:  Explain to the students that change is inevitable and adjusting your sails according to the wind is crucial.
·         Comfort Zones: Student activities in schools and colleges should challenge them by moving them out of their comfort zones as this is an important life skill.
·         Resilience: Teach them resilience through various activities to encourage their adaptability.
·         Risk Taking: Help them to eliminate the fear of failure and allow them to take calculative risks.
·         Independent Thinking: Support them but let them face and come out of difficult situations on their own.
·         Work: Make the students do different tasks on a rotation basis, this will help them understand and learn all kinds of work.
·         Corrective Actions: When things go wrong, don’t hesitate to teach them to accept their decisions and take appropriate corrective actions.
·         Cultural Differences: Allow them to participate in student exchange programs to sensitize them to different cultures and understand inclusivity.
·         New Ideas: Encourage them to be more open to new ideas, concepts & thought leaders.

#4 Networking

·         Group Activities: Initiate group activities and project-based learning so that students will interact with each other.
·         Knowledge Enhancement: Keep them abreast about current affairs and enhance their general knowledge.
·         Socialize: Help them join curricular and academic groups where there are children with common interests.
·         Observe & Learn: Allow them to observe someone closely whom they admire for strong networking skills.
·         Lunch Time: Make them sit with different groups for lunch to get to know the other kids better.
·         Expand Exposure: Encourage them to establish strong connections and lasting bonds by expanding their exposure.

#5 Communication Skills

·         Interaction: Student activities in schools and colleges can be designed to foster interaction with other students, teachers, peers, alumni, industry experts, etc. to strengthen their communication skills.
·         Audio/Visual Content:  Motivate them to watch documentaries, TEDx talks, ‘how to?’ videos, etc. to enhance their communication skills.
·         Public Speaking: Make them take interest in student activities like recitals, drama, elocution competitions, debates, etc. to help them master the art of public speaking.
·         Read: Encourage the habit to read on a wide variety of topics, this is one life skill that will help them in the long run.
·      Body Language: Help them learn about the right body language, gestures and voice modulation to complement their verbal communication, in order to emote better.

Whether at home or at school, these are small initiatives which can help equip the students with the right life skills to get ready for the future. And while you work on inculcating these life skills, don’t forget to teach them important human values like friendship, kindness, compassion, charity and empathy that will also enable them to be better human beings and not just successful ones!

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