Content Is No Longer King! edit_img_5219.jpg

If you have a son at CBC Fremantle, it is more than likely that you completed school in the 1980s to 1990s where the subjects taught were explicitly centered around content.  Content was king!  I would encourage you to be nostalgic and reminisce about what your day was like at school during those times.  You may remember that the key to academic success and preparation for your future was to remember content and regurgitate it in the form of an assessment.

Some of your reminiscing may have led you to the conclusion that some things may have not changed.  I would like to argue that content has lost its crown and is no longer king. I would also like to propose that you take the time to reflect on what is really required for your son for his future, and you may come to the same conclusion that I have – content is no longer king!

Three weeks ago, I attended a conference where the theme was Leading Today's Learning for Tomorrow's World.   The host, Adriana Di Prato outlined the top 10 skills needed by tomorrow's leaders for their future.  Content has fallen off the list!  What has surfaced onto the list are character attributes (leadership, social influence, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility), analytical thinking and innovation, active learning and learning strategies, complex problem solving, critical thinking and analytical skills, creativity, originality, and initiative.

Our challenge is to adapt how learning is conducted at CBC Fremantle.  One could shift the paradigm of education to the concept that "content is the context in which students learn character, analytical thinking skills, innovation, active learning and learning strategies, creativity, originality and initiative."  Why? Because your son has content at his fingertips and can access this content whenever he chooses.  Our challenge is to enable him to use this easily accessible content and apply it to his future.

At CBC Fremantle, we embarked on this journey five years ago.  The introduction of the Year 8 Love of Learning Project where students identify any problem in the word and look to solve it.  The introduction of contemporary electives such as The Entrepreneur, Criminology and Forensic Science, Maths Problem Solving, and The Handyman. In 2024 we will introduce Drawing, Illustration and 2D art and AFL Extension.  Academic Behaviours have formed part of your son's learning journey.  Unpacked, these are the outward signs of learning.  Year 10 students research and design their Senior School academic pathway.  More recently we have designed and introduced our Vision for Learning which guides us as to how we wish to teach your son, whilst guiding him to aspire to a 21st Century learner:

A CBC learner is…
curious and fearless in his learning
challenged, extended and gives his best
tenacious and always perseveres
informed, respectful and selfless
… a CBC gentleman

A CBC Fremantle learner is more than marks and grades.  Marks and grades (albeit required by the government) are a very narrow way to judge success and are outdated as they judge success on the recall and regurgitation of content.  A skill that is required less and less in our world.

My challenge to you as parents and caregivers is to reflect on your next week at work.  If you need to find out something (content), how do you access it?  What do you need the content for?  What do you do with the content?  What are the higher order skills that you use within your workplace?  You may be surprised that you utilised an array of character attributes. Your thinking must be innovative, complex problems need to be solved. You had to be creative with your thinking and show initiative to mention a few.

So, I challenge you, is content still king?

Mr Scott McDonnell
Deputy Principal
Teaching & Learning