Shane Schoff – Deputy Principal

Martin Westwell (Chief Executive, SACE Board of SA) led a workshop at Cornerstone with our staff recently, challenging us to consider how we could redefine our understanding of student success.

To provoke our thinking, Martin borrowed a line from Andreas Schleicher – Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills. According to Schleicher, society’s preparation for the future of work is wrong. We’re scared that human jobs will be replaced by robots. But we’re still teaching kids to think like machines.

“What we know is that the kinds of things that are easy to teach, and maybe easy to test, are precisely the kinds of things that are easy to digitise and to automate,” Schleicher said. It’s fairly easy to teach and test maths skills, for example – but robots happen to be pretty good at maths, too.

Children can, however, imagine, create, question, and collaborate in ways that robots cannot. These are the skills that Schleicher wants the world’s education systems to emphasise.

“The advent of artificial intelligence should push us to think harder of what makes us human,” he said, adding that if we are not careful, the world will be educating “second-class robots and not first-class humans.”

How do we build capacity in young people to grapple with a problem and develop perseverance or to deal with uncertainty and risk?
How do we promote entrepreneurial thinking (the pursuit of opportunities beyond the resources you currently control)? Martin suggested a core capability in our curriculum should be titled ‘getting stuff done’ to emphasise the importance of actions.

Entrepreneurial thinking enables us to do things that are beyond the capacity of machines or robots. Things like creating a new company, leading a new social enterprise or devising a theatre production that captures the hearts and minds of others.

With emerging opportunities in South Australia like cybersecurity or space industries, the skills that young people will require are skills that are beyond technology or artificial intelligence. Knowing stuff is important, but just having knowledge is insufficient.
Martin Westwell highlighted the need for expertise within disciplines while also building the capacity for interdisciplinary actions. It is the capabilities in the Australian Curriculum like interpersonal and social capabilities or ethical and cultural understandings that enable young people to connect and collaborate.

At Cornerstone, we seek to nurture individuals, who are aware of their humanity and are open to the influence of the Holy Spirit. As a Christian community we are passionate about growing capabilities in young people that enable them to do so much more.
Our challenge is so much more than educating first-class humans. Just look at our Mission Statement, “We are a caring Christian community nurturing within students a growing relationship with Christ which promotes individual excellence, learning and responsibility for life.”