One sentence in the article really jumped out at me: "The faculty and campus leaders have made it their mission to prepare Pharmacists, not just graduates." This idea implies a more active, applied approach to both coursework and learning in preparation for students to bring the skills and concepts to bear in their future careers. This is a core element of professional education programs like pharmacy, education or nursing. It strikes me, though, that this same kind of vision could (should?) be applied to any field. The flipped classroom offers students more opportunities to engage in this kind of work.
What does it mean to prepare students for their futures?
Author Daniel Pink wrote, "We need to prepare kids for their future, not our past." This was brought home to me in a really visceral way at a screening of the film, Most Likely to Succeed, as part of the William & Mary Homecoming celebration. One of the authors of the companion book and the producer of the film, Ted Dintersmith made a compelling case that we need to rethink school at all levels to help students find their passion, engage in deep work, and develop the kinds of collaboration and innovation skills that will serve them well in their future.
Co-author Tony Wagner and William & Mary alum (a double English and Physics double major no less), Dintersmith argues that “the core purpose of education [is to] teach the next generation the lessons needed to survive and thrive” (p. 21). What does this mean to you? What will students need to survive and thrive whether they go on to graduate school, enter the workforce or participate in community service? I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but what follows are a few ideas you might want to consider in your teaching.
How can we prepare students for an unknown future?
- Give them real problems, situations and cases to grapple with.
- Encourage them to “try on” different ideas, discuss their merits and limitations and above all, make mistakes.
- Provide them with an authentic audience (beyond their professor and classmates) for their work.
- Encourage them to communicate their ideas in flexible, engaging and substantive ways.
- Provide students with independent study opportunities (within courses as well as through dedicated independent study courses) to explore their own interests related to course content.
Need some inspiration? Watch the film trailer, buy the book, or host a screening for your school.
How do you help your students prepare for their futures?
Please post your comments below.