Ethics, philosophy are important lessons to teach students in the digital age
- As innovative technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual reality and 3D printing continue breaking societal boundaries, today's students need to learn the necessary tools to prepare for the future workforce, according to EdSurge — and while many are quick to say those skills come from studying STEM subjects, ethics, philosophy and morality education may play an equally important role.
- As these technologies could potentially transform society and change the way we function, workers will need the moral background to be able to understand and control how this equipment should be built, used and regulated — or whether it should be built at all.
- The digital revolution is also taking place as humanities curricula disappears from classrooms and post-secondary enrollment in these subjects declines, but just as learning practical skills like coding is crucial, it's equally important to help students become well-rounded by teaching subjects that nurture humanity, which can't be found in emotionless technology.
Regardless of what career path a student takes when they enter the workforce — medicine, journalism, engineering, you name it — technology is seeping into nearly every possible sector. With more computers, electronic machinery and smart equipment, it's natural that educators, policymakers and other stakeholders would, in turn, stress more STEM education or bring more ed tech to classrooms to better prepare today's students for tomorrow's world. Skills like coding, database management and programming go hand in hand with the continued technological developments.
At the same time, it's safe to say the intrinsic value of soft skills in the future isn't going anywhere. Students need to understand how to interact with others, to think critically, and to solve problems by thinking outside the box. And no matter how much technology is out there to help make life simpler or easier, the need for people to have those skills isn't going away. This demand does not solely exist for students to succeed in their professional lives — it's also for the sake of them being better, happier and more well-rounded people.
While there's still disagreement over which soft skills and social-emotional learning (SEL) tools should be taught in classrooms, there's general consensus that they should be there in some capacity. In fact, educators and parents would go as far as to say soft skills like grit, creativity and collaboration are just as crucial as academic subjects. But despite this widespread belief, all but a small percentage of teachers think they're taught well. Even worse, students are saying they don't feel career-ready: More than half of those who have a career goal say they've never gotten advice on how to reach it.
Teaching students about these skills is critical, but it's not easy. It's difficult to figure out how to incorporate them into an existing curriculum, and measuring these abilities isn't as simple as giving out a standardized test. But creating a dialogue among teachers and administrators, training educators to teach these subjects, using other assessment options, and making lessons more interactive are some places schools can start. On top of that, making sure humanities-related subjects remain in the curriculum is crucial in reinforcing the idea that these topics, as well as the skills and disciplines they teach, are just as important as new coursework that's catered to the modern world.