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Educating for success in life

By Tony Clack and Dave Sinclair,
retired founders of LaterLife

November 2017

In the first article in our series The answer to life, the universe and everything in later life? we introduced the concept of Probably42 as an approach to using our Knowledge, Skills and Experience in retirement. Through both an online and face-to-face approach, the intention is to develop well-balanced ideas on any topic, in particular related to improving the way society operates for our children and grandchildren.

Each month through the Probably42 Pie and Pint meetings and through the Probably42 website we look at some important topic and publish and develop these ideas further. Each month, in this series of articles, we will highlight some of the considerations and outcomes from those activities.

With all topics we encourage everyone to look ahead and ask what sort of system do we need in the 21st century and what do we want things to be like for our children and grandchildren’s future. This month we considered Education. We’d very much like to invite you as a LaterLife reader to take a look at Probably42 and comment further and add your own ideas. At all times remembering the Probably42 personality of ‘Balanced, Impartial, Factual, Respectful and Encouraging’.

To get at what we all want education to be like in the 21st century, we first have to ask ourselves what are the objectives of education. We came up with this as an objective to be achieved by the end of secondary education:

to prepare people for life, such that
(1) they are equipped to survive, play their part and succeed in the world,
have an enjoyable and fulfilling life
and make the most of their personal capabilities
(2) to contribute to society and improving it for the benefit of all.


Clearly it encompasses life skills as well as academic and vocational skills. Do you agree with this, or have suggestions for improving it?

Within this we listed 15 more detailed objectives. Just to give a flavour, here are 4 of them:
  • Providing students with the basic knowledge and skills to deal with life as it is likely to be in their future.

  • Teaching them critical thinking, objective discussion, decision-making and problem-solving skills so that they can assess information and situations in a balanced way (including recognising spin and scams). Being able to separate out emotional, logical and pragmatic assessments.

  • Giving them an understanding of our rights and responsibilities in society.

  • Training them to be empathetic to other people, understand and respect others’ points of view, and give them the social skills to interact with others.

You can see the others and comment on them here.


After discussing these we went on to identify other ideas that we felt ought to be on the table such as:

  • Exploiting today’s technology in delivering education and enthusing students.

  • Prioritising science and technology more in education because we are about to enter a new era of technology and science affecting every aspect of our lives and because we already have shortfalls.

  • Creating a new National Careers Online Service using innovative methods to make opportunities more visible and more understandable and make it much more feasible to choose an appropriate path suited to personality and interests.

  • A radical new work preparation service at the end of education (whenever that might be) possibly run by employer organisations.
If you would like to see a fuller explanation of these we captured these in a 1 page document ‘Educating for success in life’. Also, if you want to see the raw output from our Pie and Pint meeting on the subject you can see the full document here.

The education discussion is in its early stages. One that is a bit further forward is the discussion on Artificial Intelligence where we have done a submission on the subject to the House of Lords’ Artificial Intelligence sub-committee as part of their calls for evidence. You can see this on the Parliament website.

Our aim at Probably42 is not to be a campaigning site but to make good ideas visible to those who have decision making or influencing positions, whatever their political persuasion.

So we hope you’ll come and register as a member (it’s free) and see what it’s all about; just visit probably42.net and use the sign-up box on the front page. Note you have to be signed in to see the commenting facilities.
Footnote


Probably42 is the first initiative of ‘The Knowledge, Skills and Experience Foundation’ which is a non-profit making Social Enterprise organisation set up by Tony Clack and Dave Sinclair, retired founders of LaterLife.  

Read more articles here.

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