We are all in education, as English teachers, we are educators.
We all know how important English is. English has become the new lingua franca of the world.
And we, as English teachers, as educators we have a beautiful responsibility in our hands.
We are educating the future generation of parents, of decision makers, of policy makers. So, we are helping create the future, the question is, what future do we want?
The future is unpredictable, because it is always in the making, specially nowadays. There are some mega-trends, and we have to consider how these megatrends influence the future generation of students and how education (and the future generation of students) can influence these mega-trends. What future do we want?
The future has already started
Learners in general, and learners of English, need to make sense of this world, in order to be able to design a sustainable and brighter future for all. These are some of the mega-trends of this ambivalent world.
· Local and global
Societies are more connected than ever, but also more divided and polarized. Whatever that is done locally affects globally and vice-versa
· Information overload and fake news
Not only there’s no time to process all the information that is out there, but also, it is full of fake clues, or partial realities
· Affluence and scarcity
Some groups are monopolizing the benefits of globalization – 1% of the richest people owns half of the wealth of the world, while we still have people who are starving, with no access to health services, or education
· Connectivity and isolation
Among heavy users of social media and digital screens, younger people especially, loneliness is often extreme.
· In the era of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, six out of ten – children and adolescents of primary and lower secondary school age do not achieve minimum proficiency levels in reading.
· While we are talking about space tourism, we are totally destroying our planet
These are the challenges present and future generation of learners need to face, and we, as educators need to address with them.
These are the attitudes and learning habits of the next generation of learners as I see it.
- Learners that are discovering how they learn and how to learn with and from others. Learners familiar with artificial intelligence-enhanced technologies, learning from them and creating new knowledge. They will have to reinvent themselves many times during their lives.
- Learners that are building their character on openness and flexibility; learners that make eye contact, look at each other. They will need emotional balance resources
- Learners that sometimes succeed, but many times, fail. They’ll need to learn from these failures, to become resilient
- Learners that are making sense of all the information. They’ll have to critically select information and create a general picture of the world.
- Learners collaborating in diverse groups (different age, ethnic groups, cultures, abilities and disabilities). They’ll rely on the wealth of diversity to creatively look for solutions for the challenges we face.
- Learners with time, time to think, time to reflect, time to research, time to try things out, time to doubt and change. Brave learners that accept that they don’t know all the answers but are willing to try new ways.
They are designing and building this new era.