Change Education

Adaptability the Key to Success

WorldfaceGlobalisation and the impact of technology means that, in many ways, the world of today is barely recognisable to that of twenty or thirty years ago.

This is particularly true of the workplace. We’ve long been aware of the concept of offshoring the work force, although many of us still equate this to blue-collar work or call-centre services.

The fact is more and more white-collar work is moving off shore, and the workplace is becoming increasingly “freelance.”

We’re not sure what impact this will have on our students today, but we must appreciate that the education system was essentially designed to produce people who were categorised based on their skill set, and set on a course, that for most would keep them in the same line of work, and for many with the same employer.

Have a look at for a quick reality check. Here you’ll see graduates from emerging economies doing what Australian kids can do, but at a fraction of the cost – everything from architecture, accounting and web design to industrial engineering, market research and translation services.

Our kids will have to be super-adaptable, creative, entrepreneurial and remarkably resilient as they enter a workforce that few of their parents will be able to help them navigate.

Let’s assume that at the very least, schools should prepare kids for life after school, Professor Andrew Martin has recently published some findings from his research into adaptability in school, and I’m of the opinion schools should be looking at this as earnestly as they look at “engagement” and “resilience,” if they are to truly prepare kids for life after school.

This was also a running theme in my latest article for The Age in which I interviewed amongst others teen science phenomenon Jake Andraka and UK educator and author David Price OBE.

This was originally written for my regular Generation Next column.

Education Engagement & Motivation Wellbeing

The chicken or the egg?

We all know the general message that “Student wellbeing is important as it impacts on their ability to learn and achieve.”

But just as wellbeing affects education, I believe it is crucially important to understand how education affects wellbeing.

How we educate our students can have a direct impact on their wellbeing – and ours!

It’s a classic case of the chicken or the egg – what comes first? Wellbeing or Educational outcomes? This is at the heart of my Virtuous Cycle model and relies on truly understanding engagement.

Think about your own or your children’s experience in school. Are wellbeing and educational outcomes held in equal regard?

What about your experience in the workplace?

Is staff wellbeing something that is genuinely promoted. And yes I am talking about wellbeing as opposed to welfare!

A “welfare” approach tends only to focus on ensuring individuals or organisations aren’t struggling. Whereas a wellbeing approach aims to ensure individuals and organisations are positively flourishing.

This Sydney Morning Herald article tells of some of the approaches Google take to ensure staff are flourishing… note the reference to philanthropy!

It’s easy to dismiss this as being too difficult to implement in the school setting, but with a little creativity in school leadership and curriculum design it is possible to incorporate many of these ideas into your school.

The question is, how could your school do it?