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Preparing students for a changing world

13 June 2019

Globalisation, technological advances and the changing nature of work all have far-reaching implications for the work of schools, says Professor Geoff Masters, speaking ahead of ACER’s Research Conference.

In a Q&A published in Teacher, Professor Geoff Masters AO, Chief Executive of ACER, says there is widespread agreement that students require new levels of skill in collaborating, communicating, thinking critically, innovating, solving problems and applying what is learnt in new contexts. According to Professor Masters, these skills need to be underpinned by values and dispositions that include a commitment to social inclusion, responsible citizenship and respect for human rights.

Research Conference 2019, Professor Masters explains, will review research into innovative ways of conceptualising, developing and assessing this broader range of priorities for student learning and development in the 21st Century.

‘An important question in relation to any general capability is the question of what it means for students to develop higher levels of the capability. What improves as students become better at collaborating? What can be watched for as evidence of increasing problem-solving ability? Descriptions of progress or growth in general skills and attributes often are based on judgements or beliefs rather than on data,’ Professor Masters says. ‘Some presentations at this conference will describe leading-edge work to construct empirically-based maps and descriptions of how general capabilities develop in practice.’ 

Professor Masters says conference participants will have an opportunity to hear from researchers and practitioners who are grappling with important questions relating to the teaching, development and assessment of a variety of skills and personal attributes now recognised as essential for learning, life and work beyond school.

‘This is a field in which significant advances can be expected over the next decade,’ Professor Masters says.

‘In some cases, [conference] participation will provide a better understanding of unanswered questions and how they are being explored. In other cases, participants will take away new ideas that they can use immediately.’

Read the full article:
Read ‘Connecting research to practice: Preparing students for the future’ in Teacher Magazine or find out more about Research Conference 2019. ■

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