Preparing students for their future careers is no small task. It’s estimated that 85 percent of the jobs students will be doing in the future don’t exist yet. If we don’t know what types of jobs will be needed in ten to fifteen years, how do we ensure students are set up for future success?
Experts say one of the best ways to prepare students for a fast-changing work environment is to help them develop skills and mindsets that can be applied to a variety of contexts in the future. As technology changes, hard skills will need to be adapted or updated, while “soft” skills, such as critical thinking and problem-solving, will help students in any work situation. This is not to say hard skills are not important; rather, we can help students more by building skill sets they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.
“Global Education is allowing our students the chance to solve problems, make decisions, think critically, communicate ideas effectively, and work well with others.”
–Megan, Global Lead at Fred L. Wilson Elementary
At Participate Learning, we strongly believe that throughout the learning journey, when students are empowered to explore the world, it sparks a profound sense of purpose, inspiring them to take meaningful action within their community and beyond. Whether in programs like Dual Language or Conexiones, or through a whole-school framework like Global Leaders, it’s essential that students exceed the mastery of specific academic skills by applying their learning in the real world. Below are several key skills employers say future workers will need to have, along with examples of how our partner schools incorporate practice of these skills in daily lessons.
Problem-solving and teamwork
The ability to solve complex problems is valuable in many professional contexts. Students will almost certainly need to work with others to find solutions to problems in their future careers. Asking students to work together to address real-world challenges is something teachers and schools can start at a young age.
For example, first graders at Winstead Avenue Elementary worked together to help solve a few problems they noticed around them. They wanted to reduce food waste in their school cafeteria and address hunger in the wider community. They started a program where untouched food was put in a box outside the cafeteria for any student to take home. With the support of their teacher, these young students are building their problem-solving skills while making a positive impact.
Resilience and flexibility
According to the World Economic Forum, some of the top job skills students need are resilience, stress tolerance, and flexibility. Students will deal with ambiguity and near-constant change in future work environments. The ability to pivot and approach challenges with flexibility is important for students to practice.
Middle school students in the Conexiones program are building language proficiency, global competencies, and skills for the workforce, like flexibility. Through studying both language and culture, students are exposed to different ways of thinking, helping them to build resilience as they encounter new people and experiences. Students also graduate from Conexiones proficient in another language, a valuable hard skill in the future job market.
To experience future success, students must learn how to think critically about the world around them. The ability to challenge assumptions and apply logical thought processes will serve students well in a variety of situations.
Global learning provides vital opportunities to exercise these skills. For the last two years, hundreds of students from over a dozen middle schools have participated in a Model UN, where they come together to debate a particular issue, like water scarcity. Students prepare arguments backed up with research and conduct the debate entirely in Spanish. This is just one example of how global learning provides opportunities to build a student’s future career skills.
The ability to communicate ideas and concepts clearly to a group of people is also an important skill for recent graduates to have, employers say. Communication is an essential part of collaboration and working with a team effectively. Written and oral communication skills will set students up to express their ideas successfully in a work environment.
Starting in kindergarten, dual language immersion students at Isenberg Elementary are learning how to communicate through a global lens. They practice their speaking and writing skills in both English and Spanish through virtual exchange activities with students in Colombia. Even the youngest learners can start building a foundation for great communication skills.
Global learning as the framework for children’s education enriches their experience and provides them with the necessary skills they need to thrive as adults. As we look for the best ways to prepare students for the future, global education builds the critical skills students need to succeed, regardless of how much the world changes by the time they start their careers.
Global Leaders prepares students for a modern workforce by integrating global issues, current events, and global competencies into existing school priorities. Learn more or contact us to see how a global education can impact your school.