Homework in the 21st Century: A businessman’s perspective

The following is a great comment posted by Ian Kennedy in response to my previous post on revolutionising homework for the 21st century.  Ian is a Sales Director for a chip & pin company and is officially my first guest blogger! Congratulations, a ‘Was I better than yesterday?’ mug is on it’s way… or some tickets to a rugby league game of your choice. Here goes:

”Very interesting, from a pupil point of view, I don’t remember ever doing homework that showed the impact it had on me.  A “do it quickly” and “don’t leave it till Sunday” mentality does stress children.

I copied most of mine!

As a sales manager in the working environment I try to  encourage people to work “effectively” in the working hours they have; if the choice for kids at the outset was A. Concentrate and work hard in the working day or B. Some work hard, some don’t but all get home work?  This is not a great solution!

An interesting idea would be real world home work eg. tomorrow we will discuss the Stephen Lawrence trial, if you have an opinion research it and we will discuss tomorrow for an hour.  Or, what is a mortgage?  What is an APR? What are the benefits of using a credit card? Organic food or not? What is a share? What is a stock? What is the future of the Royal Family?

This would inspire some and not others but it would produce a platform for debate and encourage people to look into real world issues.

Here is a recent interview I conducted:

The applicant had 4 As at A levels and a Degree in History.

Question: Would you rather have a million pounds or a million euros?

Answer: Either, it’s still a million and I d just switch it over at Tescos”

Personally, I think that local, national and international businesses should play an important role in the design of a school’s curriculum.  What are future employers looking for?  How can we design a curriculum to facilitate this?  It seems employers are now looking for creative people who can solve problems both independently and / or with a diverse range of people who could be located anywhere in the world.

Educators in the 21st century and beyond will be continually given the responsibility of helping children learn  the necessary skills for jobs that don’t even exist yet.

This is both an exciting challenge and a daunting one.  Do we have the guts to tranform students’ educational experience for the better?


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