We need a more networked approach to education and we need to open schools up to the rich diversity that exists in society

TONY FARLEY

STRATEGIC OPTIMIST

IN CONVERSATION WITH STORYTELLER SIAN

“There’s massive change taking place in education as we prepare our students to engage with and thrive as global citizens.

There is still a need to ensure students are highly literate and numerate — to be well versed in the basics. But today’s dynamic workplaces mean that students are also going to need analytical skills and the ability to adapt and cope with uncertainty.

Schools have to start engaging more broadly in open dialogue with the entire system — with teachers, leaders, students, parents, other educators and business. We need a more networked approach to education and we need to open schools up to the rich diversity that exists in society. We also need to meet students where they are at — enabling them to access more advanced education without being removed from their age based cohort for social reasons.

Each generation of students have had their own challenges and their own advantages. Social media is often cited as a difficulty confronting young people today. Rather than looking at it as a huge disadvantage, I think we need to see the opportunity this presents for students to actively teach themselves about all sorts of things. As educators, I think it’s our role to look at all of the many opportunities that exist for young people.

I think as a society, we need to be more positive. I really believe in the extraordinary adaptability of human beings and our natural inclination towards collaboration. We’re dealing with a serious worldwide virus at the moment, yet there is a unity of purpose in the way that we’re handling it.

I hope that Australia can break free from its binary thinking and adversarial approach to so many issues. I hope our leaders start to look for common ground rather than focusing on difference. I hope our country can become much more intellectually curious and collaborative.

Ultimately, we’re all about making the world a better place, regardless of who we are and what we believe.”

*Interview and write-up  s p a c e  storyteller, Sian Gooden