The premise of the argument is that we should stop educating children to work in factories and have a single job for life, but rather educate them to be adaptable when they go to work. But that is NOT changing the purpose of education. It is still saying the purpose of education is to prepare students for a life of work. I have come across very few teachers who have such low aspirations for their students.
We do not teach them so they can get jobs. We teach them to give them an education that will allow them to have options later in life. We gift them the knowledge and skills that have been useful to the development of society over hundreds (or more) years. We give them the chance to explore beauty in nature, in art, in science. We provide opportunities for them to find themselves, and learn to work with others. Are some of these things useful in our working lives? Maybe. But that is not why we teach them.
Mark Enser argues this point well here.
I am a Maths teacher, so of course I think Maths is important. But is it more important than languages or arts? To some students, maybe. But, as I argue above, the purpose of education is to provide a broad insight into the world.
But, the author barely argues this point, but rather goes on to say that we should be teaching humanities as well (which is what we already do) and then further changes tact saying we should teach critical thinking and collaboration, citing this rather famous WEF Report. Blake Harvard does a good job of breaking down this report here. And I refer back to my argument above again. This suggests we should teach things that employers want, not what is best for students. Perhaps if employers want these skills, they should invest in training their employees.
Anyway, what a whirlwind. From stating we should improve STEM teaching we end up at teaching creativity and collaboration. All in one paragraph. A muddled argument at best.
With machines able to do all the manual and repetitive labour, we need humans to be more creative and do the things machines can't do. So the argument goes. But creativity is hugely domain specific, and requires a large amount of background knowledge. Schools do teach students to be creative, by teaching them enough content and skills that they can be creative. As an Art teacher once said to me, "You need to know the rules to be able to break them". He was describing the work of Pablo Picasso, and how he had spent years learning the basics of drawing and painting before being able to create the masterpieces we now celebrate him for. We need to go through those steps to be able to become the creative and adaptable thinkers able to compete with the machines.
And don't even get me started on what happens when the machines learn enough content to become creative!
"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn." - Future Shock, Alvin Toffler.
What nonsense. Those who cannot read and write will not be able to "learn, unlearn and relearn" (at least not as effectively as those who can). And we can all learn, unlearn and relearn naturally anyway. Everyone of us is in built with the ability to learn. What makes us more able to learn, is knowing lots of stuff. The more we know, the more we can learn, and the more we learn, the more we will know. This is the Matthew Effect.
And then we hear that we need people to be lifelong learners as the jobs of the future don't exist yet. Another old argument that has been argued against many times (e.g. here). But again, this supposes that schools are not teaching kids to be lifelong learners. That is one of the primary aims of many teachers. I want my kids to be successful in whichever path they choose, and the best way to do that is to give them a broad education of the stuff that has helped generations of previous thinkers to advance society.
Finally one I agree with. We need to incorporate more cognitive science into teacher training so that teachers are aware of how the brain works and learns.
Oh wait. No. We need to become facilitators. That is not altering educator training. That is what most teacher training currently is. Both initial training and training we receive later in our careers.
"Failure needs to be embraced as an essential step to learning." Another dangerous idea. Whilst we can learn from mistakes, they are not what we want to happen, and they are not essential. They are likely to happen, and can be used to in ways to remove misconceptions. But a 'perfect' explanation with examples and models can lead to learning with no mistakes. The danger in this phrase is that mistakes will happen, and we want students to learn from their mistakes. But we should not be aiming to make mistakes.
I actually do agree with this one. Although I think many teachers and schools do already do this.
I am not sure how this is something that schools are supposed to do. But the argument once again boils down to colleges being a place to prepare people for work, and schools prepare you for college, so the people in charge of businesses should decide what they want and schools and colleges should fit in with giving them the mindless drones (who are all very creative about things they know nothing about) that they want.