16 December 2022

What School Ought to Teach (WSOT) list

What School Ought to Teach (WSOT) list consists of 10 key competencies, embedded in a humanistic view, that prepare young people for life in a perpetually changing world.


source: Pixabay

We live in a fast-changing, unpredictable, uncertain, increasingly complex, and ambiguous world. Producing more of the same discipline knowledge and skills is not enough to address the challenges of the present and future. 

All over the world, education is at a crossroads. Many believe that education has not lived up to its promises of providing an inclusive approach meaning fairness, equity, and high quality for all. 

However, it is important to remember that we are not just victims of change or powerless observers. The main mission of education is to invest in the future and provide hope. Powerlessness and pessimism are its worst enemies. It is high time to rethink schools as a place of shaping responsible, motivated, dedicated, and conscious learners, but – above all – happy and fulfilled people. 

The answer to this challenge is a holistic, learner-centered approach based on the ability to combine multiple skills and competencies.

Holistic Think Tank, following the results of the research conducted in 10 countries, has developed a list of 10 values that schools ought to teach in order to educate active and engaged citizens capable of living, collaborating and communicating in a multi-faced world, able to think in a creative and critical manner to solve complex problems with the recognition and use of the potential of new technologies, while being able to avert their risks. 

  1. DISCUSSION (including: attentive listening to others, reading signals and intentions, ability to formulate one’s thoughts, ability to accept criticism);
  2. SAFETY (including: alert thinking, noticing attempts at manipulation and deception, responding effectively to them, online safety, communication safety, financial safety, personal safety, understood as prevention and ability to stop acts of physical aggression));
  3. SELF-AWARENESS (including: knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses, wise humility, the ability to read, control and regulate emotions, self-reflection and constructive self-criticism, the ability to learn from mistakes, distancing oneself from things beyond one’s control, discerning one’s path in life, taking care of one’s physical and mental health, including reading one’s body messages);
  4. COMMUNITY (including: building and nurturing relationships with other people, cooperation, conflict management, empathy, acting for the common good, negotiation skills, empathetic leadership);
  5. RESPONSIBILITY (for oneself, for one’s actions and words, but also for nature and the heritage of civilization; timely fulfillment of obligations, self-education);
  6. AGENCY (self-confidence, perseverance, entrepreneurship and motivation to learn and act, consistency, assertiveness, ability not to give up on one’s own opinion, self-discipline, ability to prioritize tasks);
  7. HONESTY (towards other people, communities, institutions, employers; sincerity, loyalty, being guided by ethical principles; understanding that our actions should not hurt anyone, realizing that hate speech – including online hate speech – can lead to this, taking into account the other’s well-being, responding to situations where others are hurt, but also scientific honesty);
  8. CRITICAL THINKING (distinguishing truth from falsity and fact from opinion, the ability to verify information and its sources, awareness of the existence of such phenomena as fake news and propaganda and effective reaction to them);
  9. CREATIVITY (the ability to go beyond the usual patterns of action, to seek and fulfill passions, to learn from and experience, to cultivate the aesthetic and artistic sense, to see the role of art, serenity and humor));
  10. COURAGE (moral, civil and exploratory; the ability to take risks, to go beyond one’s comfort zone; the belief in the meaning and success of one’s actions; the courage to speak out against injustice; adaptability and resilience).