Artificial Intelligence is changing the workplace and while we cannot guarantee exactly what the jobs of the future will look like, as educators, we have a responsibility to ensure that students have the skills and competencies required to adapt to a changing world. International Baccalaureate programmes can help us to recognise this.
In November 2023, the UK Government hosted its first ever Artificial Intelligence (AI) Safety Summit, which was the culmination of many months of focus on the risks and benefits of AI, triggered by the growing prevalence of ChatGPT and other large language model-based chatbots. AI and other technologies are revolutionising the workplace, and, with the likes of virtual and augmented reality transforming many sectors, it is no surprise that today’s jobs will look dramatically different in the future as technology automates some roles.
Preparing students for jobs that do not currently exist
As educators, I believe we have a responsibility to provide our students with an education that will enable them to pursue whichever career path they choose. But how can we guarantee that the jobs we are preparing our students for will even exist by the time they leave education? It is not enough for students to have the digital skills that they need to work with technology, but we need to equip our students with the skills they need to apply their knowledge to new scenarios to ensure they are prepared for jobs that do not currently exist. It is clear that the UK Government has acknowledged this with its proposal for the Advanced British Standard.
While AI can analyse data, automate tasks and generate content, it cannot replicate skills such as collaborative teamwork, empathetic leadership, effective communication, and problem-solving with ethical considerations. Its inability to think critically and communicate empathetically is already leading to many employers placing greater importance on these skills when recruiting – as evidenced by the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2023. We have to recognise this and plan accordingly to ensure that the students of today are prepared for the workplace of the future.
The ability to communicate effectively
It is because of this that I believe the ability to communicate effectively, both face to face and online, will be one of the most sought-after skills in the jobs of tomorrow. It is often assumed that people have an innate ability to communicate, but it is a skill that needs nurturing and developing in the same way as any other. Communication underpins every aspect of an International Baccalaureate (IB) education and is embedded into students’ daily learning at Impington International College. Dialogue and debate are at the heart of our students’ lessons, and these structured classroom discussions ensures they learn to express themselves and challenge ideas, think critically and grow in confidence – all of which are skills that will help them succeed in their chosen career.
Developing their critical thinking skills
Through the IB Diploma Programme (DP) and Career-related Programme (CP) our students’ critical thinking skills are cultivated. CP students develop their critical thinking skills through personal and professional skills development, which underpins their career-related study. In the DP, students complete the Theory of Knowledge course, which requires them to reflect on the nature of knowledge and explore their personal assumptions and biases. This helps students to build critical thinking skills that can be applied to real-world situations, which will stand them in good stead for any future career.
Our students also take part in a collaborative project as part of their IB studies, where they work together and utilise each other’s different areas of expertise to complete a significant body of work. For example, in the Collaborative Sciences Project, DP and CP students address real world problems through the exploration of Sciences. This help students to develop an understanding of how interrelated systems, mechanisms and processes have an effect on a problem, and further strengthens their ability to work collaboratively – another skill that is already in high demand in the workplace.
Understanding the ethical implications of decision making
A common criticism of AI that was emphasised during the recent Safety Summit is its inability to consider the ethical implications of its decision-making. By studying IB programmes, our students are encouraged to understand the ethical implications of their decision making through analysis and evaluation of real world scenarios. Recently, our CP students have been exploring applied ethics within their chosen career-related study areas and our sports scholars have been considering the ethics of the pay disparity between male and female athletes, using the recent Women’s World Cup as a vehicle for the debate.
While we cannot guarantee what the jobs of the future will look like for our students, we can ensure that they have the core skills and competencies that they need to adapt to an increasingly digitalised and uncertain workplace. And if we are to meet this promise, I truly believe that it begins with teaching IB programmes.
By Leanne Gibbons, Assistant Principal: Head of Sixth Form, Impington International College
This article was NOT generated by AI!
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