The future has arrived

“Let’s get clear, the future just kicked the door down.”

Valerie Hannon, an educational consultant to the OECD made this statement before the start of the global pandemic. It's now clearer than ever that the pandemic has disrupted learning. There's a wealth of evidence that shows us how. And we're not going back.

Act on the tectonic shift towards technology

The world has become the classroom, wall-less schools have arrived, and the pandemic has caused a tectonic shift towards the use of technology in classrooms.

Learning to learn and relearn accelerates using smart apps and real time platforms. Future fit schools will use technology to seamlessly allow for learning to shift from face to face to online spaces.

In every crisis lies the seed of opportunity

Now is the time for all learning institutions to determine their purpose. Communities need to grapple with their 'why'. The opportunity exists when schools empower learners to see themselves as change agents. Students need to be equal partners in the design of 'what' we do at school and 'why'. Only this will build the necessary dispositions for students to thrive.

Future – fit and focused schools

Walls of classrooms have fallen, as we ebb and flow between learning spaces, in and out of school. Co-constructed beliefs and values of learning institutions must be strong enough to permeate both spaces. When students actively contribute to shaping these values and beliefs, they will see themselves as responsible members, building strength in the learning community.

Future fit schools engage in critical learning conversations to explore broader measures of success. Capabilities, dispositions, knowledge and skills learners need, to be agentic.

Understanding that we are shifting from a 'one to many' model to a 'many to many' model is the first step.

Students must be active and intentional partners in designing learning. This is not always easy, but it is vital. We need to constantly question how learners can thrive in a more complex, connected and volatile world.

How do we help learners to thrive?

Guy Claxton advocates a shift in pedagogical cultures, “to build young people who are, good in uncertainty, not frightened by complexity, able to think with clarity and nuance and bring to bear the requisite degree of cognitive complexity on complex problems”

Building mindsets of resilience, empathy, buoyancy, intuition, curiosity, determination, creativity, scepticism and self -regulation are the ‘readiness for learning’ traits necessary for students to develop and thrive in their futures.

How might we deliberately develop these vital learning traits?


  • Make it safe to be a learner.

  • Design learning opportunities that are challenging and adjustable.

  • Enable opportunities for student talk.

  • Make the process of learning visible.

What does this mean for a teacher in 2022 and beyond? It means designing and providing continuous opportunities for students to safely engage. Seek their contribution at every opportunity. Give students the agency to create learning beliefs and values that are not tied to bricks and mortar, but a much more resilient and malleable learning environment. One that transitions from the school walls, to home, across platforms and into the world.

Future fit teachers are…

Beacons of Hope

Your role as a leader or teacher is to be a beacon of hope for your students’. The legacy statement of Judge Andrew Beecroft, the former Children’s Commissioner, has called teachers and leaders to action. Few people are as affected by this pandemic as our young people. The imperative falls on educators to communicate messages of hope and work with students to accelerate their learning potential. Teachers must play a role to ensure that damaging narratives around the 'blended model' are put to bed. We must rapidly respond to our new environment, not ease back in slowly. Our new reality is a great opportunity but will only be realised when teachers see it.


  • Design rich learning opportunities which are challenging, authentic, and relevant. These opportunities place a learner’s cultural identity and voice at the heart of design and narrative assessment.

  • Build a culture of critique where feedback against criteria is explicitly taught to be kind, specific and helpful.

  • Prioritise ‘critical learning conversations’ which provide the learner with evaluation of learning against agreed criteria, focus on the current and desired performance and provide clarity about where to next. Use technology to capture the conversations as evidence of progress and achievement.

It’s time “to build a system of assessment to be one of service to the learners, liberating and empowering learners”, claims Valerie Hannon. Leaders, teachers, and students embrace the concept of student engaged assessment. Students are served by engaging in cycles of learning assessments, improving the quality of their work through use of models, reflection, critique, and rubrics, supported by peer and teacher feedback.

The time is now

Despite the headwinds of the pandemic, now is the right time for leaders and teachers to redesign a new model. With purpose at its heart and where beliefs and values are developed with students as equal partners. The new PLD priorities of assessment for learning, local curriculum design and cultural capabilities will support you to shoot for the moon, whilst keeping it real for our teachers and learners.

When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the aeroplane flies off against the wind, not with it”. Henry Ford


EL Education-

Bryant, J., Dorn, E., Hall, S., and Panier, F., (2020) Reimagining a More Equitable and Resilient K-12 Education System. McKinsey & Company

Claxton, G., Chambers, M., Powell, G. & Lucas, B. (2011)The Learning Powered School: Pioneering 21st Century Education. Hawker Brownlow Education

Goodard, C., North, E., Ward, S., Taylor, S., Beresford, T., Glover, T., & Kenyon, T. (2019) Re Imagining Education Together- So that all young people can thrive in a world of constant change. Innovation Unit

EL Education-

Hannon, V., Seeing is Believing: The Future School is Here. Australian Learning Lecture. Koshland Education Innovation

North, E., (2021) Our 10 Big Hopes for Change- A review of the latest insights and pioneers making impact on the ground Big Change

OECD Future of Education and Skills 2030 Student Voices on Curriculum ( re) design

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