Facing uncertainty – why children need to learn it

Child looking lost and worried

None of us know what the world will look like for our children.

One of my favourite parts of Positive Education is teaching children to deal with VUCA environments. Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. So much of our children’s lives are planned for them. Timetables, study, events, even playtimes run according to a schedule. We teach them how to set and reach goals, because these skills are important.

But what about when plans are largely irrelevant? What about when they have to deal with shifting landscapes and unprecedented events? That’s where the VUCA skills come in – allowing the children to develop their sense of being able to think on their feet, observe, focus, rethink and adapt as events unfold.

VUCA skills are exactly what are needed in the world right now as we all face making decisions against an ever-changing backdrop. Such skills however are not only in demand during a global crisis, they are more widely needed than that, as this TED talk explores.

Margaret Heffernan talks about leadership during uncertainty and pinpoints many of the skills our future leaders will need – including dealing with a pandemic (a rather prescient point as she was speaking in 2019).

None of us know what the world will look like for our children, so equipping them with the skills they need to respond to whatever challenges life throws at them could not be more important.

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