How do you connect entrepreneurial skills and today’s workplace to the classroom? How does the fast-changing economy influence education? How can school environments match work place environments? All great questions that were addressed and discussed in a workshop I attended on entrepreneurship education in traditional schools. Of course, as each presenter shared their research and ideas to the group, I couldn’t help but reflect on our own learning community here at CMS.Here are few takeaways from the event that I felt important to share with you:
Workplace trends are changing educational settings: One study to determine how companies are hiring in today’s workplace (conducted by the Parkway School District) suggested that companies are no longer interested in academic or technical skills because recent graduates are smarter than ever before. It is no doubt the internet has changed everything and graduates can now easily access a world of information and be taught technical skills very quickly.
Where companies are seeing the biggest gap in graduates is in their professional skills or “soft skills.” Companies are looking for people who have experience and talent in building relationships.There is a trend of “A” inflation happening in schools nation-wide, so many leaders in the workforce feel that GPAs are becoming meaningless. Companies want people who can effectively think and communicate verbally.
Ask your child not what they want to be when they grow up, but who they want to be. What undergraduate major will be the foundation for your career? Gone are the days of having one job for the rest of your life. The traditional manner in which big corporations employ their workforce is fading away due to the increase in specialization and the abundance of free-lance workers.
Systems approach: Memorization is a disturbance in school. Classrooms and teachers should be working together. Students need to work in groups and learn from each other.
Work should be real and meaningful. Subjects should not be isolated, but explored in an interdisciplinary manner. Students should be learning through experience because, ultimately, it is the manner in which we work that is significant rather than the work, or job, we do.
Thinking outside the box: In a traditional school system, students are just living “in the box.” They learn to progress by just getting things done and meeting requirements. They live in a task-generated world where creativity is not thriving. On the contrary, students should be challenging teachers. Grades should be based on the process versus the final product. Choice and self-motivation should be key components of every classroom, project, and course of study.
Sound familiar? It should be no surprise to you that Montessori education helps our students at all levels acquire the necessary skills to enter society: decision-making, problem solving, responsibility, and independence. From the moment a child enters our school, lessons of grace and courtesy are woven into every aspect of the classroom at each level. The environment and lessons prepared by the teachers here at CMS have created a place where students feel valued and motivated.
Specifically, in the Adolescent Program, the micro-economy component of the curriculum helps our students obtain these skills by providing our students with opportunities within the economic world and by allowing them to explore roles they may embark on in the future (micro-economy refers to all revenues and expenses related to a student-run project where products are produced to be sold or consumed by members of the community). There are opportunities within each project for students to take on different roles. The students become thinkers as well as doers. They are proud of their accomplishments and begin immediately after each project brainstorming ideas for their next big project. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the success of the Adolescent’s business endeavors.
At the end of the day, I was left with nothing but love and appreciation for Montessori and CMS. I am grateful my daughter is learning and growing in such a beautiful school environment and I am moved by the amazing adolescents I work with.
–This blog post was written by CMS Adolescent Directress, Ms. Jenna.