Building an Adaptive Education System with Future Schools Alliance and Adaptive Cultures

perspectives May 18, 2021

Future Schools Alliance (FSA) and Adaptive Cultures are partnering in exploring ways to progress the great challenge; how to evolve such a complex system as our current education system.  FSA are global thought leaders in education transformation and the future of schooling. Adaptive Cultures are global thought leaders in enabling the evolution of complex systems. Together, FSA and Adaptive Cultures have been exploring how to build the capacities necessary to adapt, grow and thrive in our modern world. Education is of course central to this.

The market for education is evolving

As our world becomes ever more complex and the pace of change continues to increase, the education system has a pivotal role in equipping society with the skills and capacities to adapt and grow and to shape this emerging future.

As an example, mass automation and advanced robotics are rapidly changing job markets and the kind of roles required. Are we educating people for the future or the past? As Charles Leadbetter described, “Current education systems risk preparing us to become second-rate robots. Instead, we should do what robots cannot do well, by learning to become more human.”

What are the current challenges to evolving such a complex system?

Education holds an extraordinarily important place in society. It focuses on developing young people of today and enabling society’s highest potential. This also means that a significant part of society holds as part of their identity their own education, role as educators or education of their loved ones.

When education is so tightly held by society, to make changes can be quite dramatic and invoke all kind of defence systems or reversions to how things have always been done. It can also become very political. As a result, the messaging, funding and measurement of education may revert to populism rather than truly progressing the system.

What kind of approach is necessary?

To progress in the face of these challenges requires a deeper appreciation of the broader societal themes emerging (what is required for the future) and a focus on how individual, social and structural levers could be used to evolve the system. It requires a focus on building the capacity to adapt to an ever-changing world.

In an upcoming community webinar on May 26, Dave Runge, Future Schools Alliance and Andrew Brown, Adaptive Cultures will share contemporary examples of how the education sector is applying adaptive frameworks and mindsets in facing this challenge.

A pathway to progress

A series of upcoming articles will explore pivotal questions on how to enable progress towards a set of aspirational qualities of the future education system. Some core questions we will explore include:

  1. How do the roles, beliefs, identities and experiences in education need to evolve for the various stakeholders – students, teachers, educational leaders, governing bodies, parents and educational advisers, researchers & philosophers
  2. How could thinking differently about teaching and learning liberate possible futures?
  3. How do the relationships between all custodians, stewards and stakeholders of the education system need to evolve to liberate possible futures?
  4. What kind of structures and practices would enable the system to evolve? For example – physical and virtual spaces, policies, measures, procedures, roles, governance
  5. What worldviews are currently holding the school/education cultures in place, and what would need to happen to release or transform the parts that no longer serve us?  What new narratives of education are required?

Whether you are an educator, a student, a parent, another stakeholder, you have a crucial responsibility and opportunity to evolve how you consider, talk about and support the evolution of this profoundly important system we call education. Through your actions, insight and involvement, you are a co-creator of the future education system.

This community webinar is subscriber content, accessible to the Adaptive Cultures Global Community – an online community of leaders, change agents and culture practitioners from inside organisations and external facilitators, coaches, educators and transformation agents. Click here to learn more and join our growing online global community.

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