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🗣 The Dialogic Learning Weekly #205

The Dialogic Learning Weekly
🗣 The Dialogic Learning Weekly #205
By Tom Barrett • Issue #205 • View online
Welcome to your Friday dose of provocation and ideas about Leadership, Learning and Innovation.
This week, I critique careers advice in the pandemic age and a little exploration of my recent musings. Let’s get into it.

Stay in Your Lane
Do you remember getting career advice at school? Admittedly, I do not remember plenty from my school days, but I can barely recall a consistent effort from anyone to support the next steps in my life. It all seemed to be about just getting me to uni.
My son George is in Year 10 and recently took a careers survey. He has a range of pathways and results. These were all based on his interests, preferences and the subjects he is studying.
I appreciate and understand the good intentions, professional responsibility and financial investment in creating these career reports. But I can’t seem to shake the question:
What harm might this be causing?
It is not about specific job pathways being incorrect or misguided. My reservations are about setting expectations of what success might look and feel like in an unknown future.
Perhaps I am overplaying the influence of such reports on young people. What do you think?
We have a tendency to move away from tumult. Human nature prefers the habits, rituals and the agreeable comforts of what we know. We draw a degree of situational steadiness from fact and reason that we can rely on. 
Mutating Career Algorithm
Any career report’s relevance to guide us relies heavily on the accuracy of 15-year-olds preferences and the economic market. The former as much in flux as the latter.
Often these types of career dashboards, platforms and diagnostic tools purport to aid discovery. They assess a student and match them to careers - sounds simple.
A couple of things I am pondering:
  • How do we ensure the software we use is not bias?
  • Who wrote the formula and algorithms?
  • Which version of the future job market are they predicting?
  • What is the margin for error?
  • What ethical framework exists to design the technology, and how transparent is this?
We do not know the full impact of the pandemic on the future of work. But we do know the real effect on the loss of jobs. Here are some insights from the Foundation for Young Australians.
42% of young people say they don’t think they will find a job that is part of their long-term career plans in the next two years, if ever. 
55% of young people are concerned about their mental wellbeing in the long-term as a result of COVID-19.
I wonder if advice about the future of work carries so many caveats and unknowns that it is difficult to maintain any influence. At what point do the caveats eat the advice?
The New Work Standard | FYA
Cultivate New Capacities
Simple answers make us feel safer, especially in disruptive and tumultuous times.
We tend to move away from tumult. Human nature prefers the habits, rituals and the agreeable comforts of what we know. We draw a degree of situational steadiness from reliable fact and reason.
Perhaps the more significant gain comes from looking between the career pathways. We do not need a career algorithm to solve for a pandemic economy. We need high school learning that invests in gradual skill acquisition and dispositional adjustment relating to negative capability.
Negative capability is calm assurance and innovatory endeavour in times of uncertainty, mystery and doubt. These inevitable moments define the ups and downs of striving for something original (life).
I also like how Tony Schwartz describes it - (where you see leader, read student)
But rather than certainty, modern leaders need to consciously cultivate the capacity to see more ­— to deepen, widen, and lengthen their perspectives. Deepening depends on our willingness to challenge our blind spots, deeply held assumptions, and fixed beliefs. Widening means taking into account more perspectives ­— and stakeholders — in order to address any given problem from multiple vantage points. Lengthening requires focusing on not just the immediate consequences of a decision but also its likely impact over time.
Imagine if we design careers education and learning around those three ideas. Maybe they are just core components of sound critical thinking.
What It Takes to Think Deeply About Complex Problems
At the moment, George is interested in theoretical physics. He attributes this to Sheldon Cooper and binge-watching The Big Bang Theory. Who knows what will inspire him next.
Perhaps modern media and entertainment can respond quicker and have a more profound influence than a careers algorithm.
Online Courses
We have a couple of online courses available at the moment on contemporary assessment and curriculum design.
There is a course on how to capture learning growth written by Chris Harte and me. And my colleague Chad Ferris has another on hexagonal curriculum mapping.
“an awesome experience.”
“bridges the gap between academic theory, educational best practice and practicality.”
There are discounts available for any group or whole staff enrolments over ten people. Drop me an email if you would like to find out more.
Online Courses from Dialogic Learning
Thanks for investing some time in the newsletter; it is a privilege to share with you every week.
Let me know what resonates. I always enjoy hearing from you.
Until next Friday. In dialogue, we trust
~ Tom
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Tom Barrett

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