Most Likely To Succeed

Last week, three faculty members and I attended the Independent Schools of St. Louis (ISSL) sponsored movie screening, Most Likely to Succeed.  This documentary gained national recognition due to its depiction of the evolution of education and the illustration of what the future holds for students and faculty.

The traditional educational infrastructure was originally created more than 120 years ago.  The Committee of Ten was a group of scholars who designed American education by creating the system we know today; delivering knowledge to students via neat packages of content and time.  As footage and images lit up the screen, I was struck by how unengaged and sad the faces appeared; a stark contrast to our RWS student population.

Research was presented that examined outcomes of a traditional learning model.  In one study, a group of students was given a history test and all received As.  Three weeks later the same students were given the same test and their grades fell to Cs.  After three months, the same test was given to the control group and all failed.  The study concluded that students who receive information to memorize and regurgitate on a test are far less likely to retain the information for life compared to their counterparts who learn information by doing.

The documentary provides a solution to the outdated practices centered around the day in the life of a group of students found at High Tech High in San Diego. The philosophy of the school drives the thought that we need entrepreneurs, producers, innovators and change makers, people who desire to make other people’s lives better.

New parents to the school were interviewed as to why they chose such a progressive school.  Many stated that their friends have children who have graduated from college and don’t have jobs.  They perceive the traditional avenue of learning as not meeting the potential future demands.

As we contemplate the future, there are some noteworthy statistics to consider:

  • 53% of recent college graduates are under or unemployed.
  • 45% of recent college graduates are still living with their parents.
  • 65% of today’s elementary children will end up in jobs that haven’t been invented yet.
  • The World Economic Forum reports that creativity will become one of the top three skills in demand in 2020.
  • Emotional intelligence, never before in the top 10, will become the sixth most in-demand skill in 2020.

I was moved by Most Likely to Succeed.  I am inspired to see the potential for our children by allowing them to be creative, critical thinkers working with one another.  This fuels my passion for our commitment to project learning and preparing our students for what the future will hold.


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