canterbury’s own lifestyle magazine / a great local read

As a disruptive year draws to an end, it is time for reflection: if we could travel to the future what would we hope to see? What would we wish for our children in 2021 and how can we work on this now?

First, let’s explore the possibilities. In September 2020 the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published four scenarios for the future of schooling. These provide alternatives and opportunities for schooling in a post-COVID-19 world. They aren’t forecasts but stories of possibility. What do you think of these?

1. Schooling extended – participation in formal schooling remains, with greater international collaboration and technological advances supporting more individualised learning.
2. Education outsourced – traditional schooling breaks down and learning becomes more privatised, with digital technology as a key driver.
3. Schools as learning hubs – schools are connected to communities, involved with civic engagement and social innovation.
4. Learn-as-you-go – education happens everywhere, anytime and the lines between formal and informal learning are blurred.

As we move into 2021 it’s worth considering which parts of each scenario you prefer and using this to help make decisions for the future. What are your hopes and fears for your children and grandchildren in an increasingly uncertain world? What are the local trends that we should consider?

A recent survey identified the following five skills as critical for Canterbury Growth Industries: team work; verbal communication skills; interpersonal skills; self-management and problem solving. These were followed by specialist skills or knowledge to perform the role, then analytical and critical thinking. These align with the 6 Cs of 21st-century learning – Critical thinking, Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, Citizenship and Character. Previously we have described the moves local schools are taking to head in this direction. It’s good to know we are on the right track. In addition to this our local schools are also amplifying conversations about a seventh C – Climate change.

With summer upon us now is the time to talk to your children about alternative futures and opportunities rather than locking expectations on a single career. Options matter. Wellbeing and resilience are key.

Make this Christmas and New Year time to slow down and invest in being present. Take time to engage with your young people and listen to their concerns. They need you more than ever.

Dr Cheryl Doig is a leadership futurist who follows leadership trends and research and translates these into practice, working internationally and virtually with organisations, business leaders and educators. Her passion is for challenging organisations to think differently in order to adapt to a changing future – to think beyond their current leadership realities, while still using the best of the past.



Dr Chris Jansen is a director and senior consultant with Leadership Lab and works alongside organisations in the education, health, business and community sectors on a range of projects. Chris is also a senior lecturer at the University of Canterbury, where he teaches the Master of Business Administration and Postgraduate Diploma of Strategic Leadership.