Education for the Future

In drawing parallels between the history of life and the history of societies (including our 21st century society), biologist Geerat Vermeij observed, “the most effective adaptation for dealing with unforeseen circumstances is adaptability” (2010, 81). This theme has appeared in the literature regarding teacher preparation as well. Ben Williamson (2013) used the term flexible specialist to describe the type of worker needed by innovative organizations; by extension the same term can be applied to the educators who prepare students who will become those workers. Sawyer described teachers in the future as knowledge workers who “deeply understand the theoretical principles of how students learn” and who are “deeply familiar with the authentic practices of scientists, historians, mathematicians, or literary critics (2006, 572).” Sawyer further concluded, “The classrooms of the future will require more autonomy, more creativity, and more content knowledge (2006, 572).”


Sawyer, R. Keith. 2006. “The Schools of the Future.” In The Cambridge Handbook of Learning Science, edited by R. Keith Sawyer, 567-580. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Vermeij, Geerat. 2010. The Evolutionary World: How Adaptation Explains Everything from Seashells to Civilization. New York: Thomas Dunne Books.

Williamson, Ben. 2013. The Future of the Curriculum: School Knowledge in the Digital Age. The John D. and Catherine T. Macarthur Foundation Reports on Digital Media and Learning. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.