Many years back, I wrote an essay about the poor track record of those who purport to know the jobs of the future. I looked back at predictions made by great minds over the 20th century, and they were all wrong. We don’t seem to have a magic crystal ball.Just the other day, a neighbor asked me to advise his daughter, a high school student, about how to prepare for the future. We haven’t met yet, but when we do, I will urge her to get a solid liberal arts education, to immerse herself in literature, history, and delve deeply into her interests.

Ann Cronin, who has been a teacher, administrator, and all-round accomplished educator in Connecticut, uses this post to offer advice about how to prepare for an unknown future. She calls it “a toolkit for the future.”

The most important preparation is to develop as thinkers and learners.

Here are three practical ways that teachers can do that:

“Teach students to question.
“Teach students to write essays that explore questions of importance to them.
“Teach students to write essays about how they came to know what they know.”

She observes:

“The Common Core State Standards do not ask students to think in these ways. They are falsely marketed as being about critical thinking; those standards do not give students the learning and thinking skills needed for the future. Also, no standardized test in the United States assesses questioning, collaborating, creative thinking, or learning to learn skills. Every minute of class time given to preparing students for those tests takes students away from what they really need to learn.

“The future is almost upon us; it is just about here. It’s time to give students what they need. Invite them to question, to explore possibilities, to imagine solutions, to grow and change as thinkers, and to fall in love with learning. Then sit back and watch where they take us. It will be better than we now know.”