One of the great privileges of our work at ISSFT is the relationships that we build with our student’s families.  We have great students at ISSFT but we also have some fantastic parents.   It’s always a pleasure for us when we get the chance to meet parents on arrival or departure day, as we often feel like we know them so well having been in touch with them throughout the year.

 

This year a few of our staff had a very interesting conversation with the father of one of our Italian students who is an expert in international finance.  Our discussion centred around the tumultuous state of politics that the world is currently experiencing and what this means for our children’s future.

 

From both sides of the table, we concluded that accelerated advances in technology were a big part of the problem, but also part of the solution.

 

At ISSFT, we are very proud of and committed to our Creative Coding class as our goal is ultimately to prepare our students for the future.  As more and more jobs become automated, digital skills are an essential part of education.  But for many people the thought of this brave new world is one in which the robots take over and where humans become obsolete.  For some, science fiction is becoming reality.

 

Even within education, computers are beginning to replace teachers.  As each of our respective nations and industries try to come up with answers to these problems, we would like to humbly share with you a few of our thoughts on what may be to come.

 

Firstly, your children are filled with exciting, new ideas.   Every year we are astonished by the way that our students come together to solve problems.  In our class discussions they actively seek creative solutions to the BIG issues.  They are not intimidated by technology, in fact they see it as a major factor in how we resolve problems.  Environmental issues, global health concerns, poverty and education are all on their radar.

 

Your children thrive when they work together.  The don’t see language, colour or creed as a barrier.  They ease into group work and often, the more diverse the group, the more innovative and interesting their problem solving is.

 

Your children are bursting with enthusiasm.   When they present their ideas, they are filled with optimism and self-belief.  They consistently support each other but are also not afraid to ask challenging questions when they think improvements can be made.  Together, they embrace critical analysis, they do not fear it.

 

As teachers and educationalists, we often feel revived after the summer because it’s so inspiring to be around these young, creative minds.

 

If I think back to the days when I was at school, the subjects that I enjoyed the most and where I thrived were the classes where I connected with a teacher.  I was always engaged in the subject, but it was a special teacher who brought out the best in me and laid the foundations for my future and subsequent passion for education.

 

You see teachers don’t just regurgitate information, they instil confidence, they help tune our moral compass, they give constructive feedback and show us a variety of ways to communicate and express ourselves.  One might even argue that self-expression is what clearly defines us as human.

 

In 2015, Deloitte economists studied 140 years of data and concluded that technology has created more jobs than it has destroyed.  Technology has boosted employment in knowledge-intensive sectors such as medicine, accounting and professional services and has moved us away from monotonous, back-breaking, dangerous work.

 

These are undoubtedly complex times that we are living in and the future can seem daunting because we just don’t know what lies ahead.  But the reality is that society is healthier and wealthier than it has ever been and the only way for us to sustain this is to invest in innovative technologies and education.

 

The jobs of the future will likely include growing the fields of virtual reality, nano-technology, e-marketing, healthcare, renewable energies and space exploration.

 

By the end of our conversation, we agreed that regardless of whether you are a banker or a teacher, our best resources are always in our people.  So, students, staff and parents alike, we encourage you to explore your interests and follow your dreams, because what we are experiencing is progress and we owe it to our ancestors and our children to give them the very best future we can.