Each fall, the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) releases a publication called the Trendbook. The premise of this book is to share trends found in independent schools across the nation to use for strategic planning and preparation for the future. One thing that I keep in mind as I read it every year is that these are national trends. Regional and local trends also emerge, that at times, don’t align holistically with what is seen nationally due to variances in demographics, economic climate, and birthrates. The Trendbook generally focuses on 10 different aggregates that may vary from year to year such as, The Economic Outlook, The Equity and Justice Outlook, and The School Safety and Health Outlook.
One chapter particularly caught my attention this year – The Learning and Teaching Outlook. There are three top trends noted for 2023-2024:
–Independent school students are beginning to regain academic ground lost during the pandemic. –ChatGPT and other AI tools are shaking up the education sector. –The skills for success in the workforce of the future are changing.
An excerpt from the Trendbook states, “The growth of AI is a crucial change that is raising questions about the types of skills that will be essential for work and life in the future. Many thought leaders agree that the proliferation of technology and changes in the ways of work will only accelerate in the next 10 years.” According to McKinsey & Company, a consulting firm in St. Louis, future workers will need analytical and thinking skills including: critical thinking, communication, planning, mental flexibility, developing relationships, teamwork effectiveness, and self-awareness.
We have been a Project Approach school for 10 years developing students who think critically, communicate effectively, learn time management skills, acquire organizational skills, and practice self-reflection at the end of a task. Beginning with our youngest students, developmentally appropriate practice takes place daily as they matriculate through the grade levels. I am confident our students will be prepared for the future with a strong foundation ready to become entrepreneurs, scientists, poets, historians, medical professionals, or educators. Project Approach empowers our students to embrace the changes in their future workplaces—and be prepared for whatever path they choose.