The Future of Education: We Need People Who Can 'Make' Things

01/08/2016 11:31 | Updated 01 August 2016

HundrED is a global, non-profit project aiming to bring together a vision of education for the next 100 years, collecting 100 innovations from Finland and a further 100 from around the world, along with commentary from global thought leaders. The findings will be documented as a book, a documentary, a series of international seminars and a toolkit for teachers, all shared with the world for free.

In an interview with HundrED, Lord Jim Knight, Chief Education Advisor at TES and member of the House of Lords, shared his thoughts on the current education landscape and the skills that he believes young people need to grow.


In the UK and the US, and in what I know of other jurisdictions in the Western world, we are too wedded to a model of teaching which is about delivering content and assessment that is focused on content recall. It's not building the love of learning, the resilience, the rounded set of skills that I think young people need to prosper both in terms of living fulfilling lives for themselves, but also for them to be successful in the labour market, which is changing so rapidly.

We're going to have to have a different relationship with education through our much longer working lives and so front-loading our education experience at school and at university - all when you're young - doesn't make any sense anymore. I'm on my fourth career; I'm lucky that I haven't had to go back into education in order to shift careers but it'll be increasingly common for people to need to go back and do six months or a year to refresh their thinking and their qualifications.

That's why it's so important to be good self directed learners, and why I think teaching needs to shift. Michael Fullan and some others argue that we should be shifting from content delivery to coaching learning - for schools teaching you how to learn really well, how to learn with others, how to search, how to reflect. How to have habits at times of using all of the technology to amass and curate information, but then also teaching you the habits of turning it all off so you can reflect on what you've amassed and create new thinking. We are out of balance between knowledge acquisition and knowledge creation, and that's the core.

As an employer I don't want people who can recall stuff because I've got computers to do that, I want people who can make stuff. And that might be making ideas, it might be making value, it might be making physical objects, but that's what we need.

To read Lord Jim Knight's full interview, visit

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