Letter to Financial Times: Students need new skills to navigate a complex world


From John Goodwin, CEO, The LEGO Foundation, Billund, Denmark

Published 19 May 2020

Link to Financial Times article (behind paywall)


Andrew Hill argues convincingly (“Coronavirus exam cancellations raise questions of what they are for”, May 7) that we must rethink assessment and its benefit to students as we navigate the Covid-19 crisis. We instead propose rethinking education in its totality — using this unparalleled time to fundamentally re-evaluate what and how we’re teaching our students.

While we recognise the important role assessments play in education, they too often differentiate high and low performing students at a point in time that then establishes winner and loser trajectories for life. This creates a limited purview of learning, achievement and the unique potential of every child and young adult.

Learner-focused, play-based pedagogy that fosters skills including creativity, critical thinking and collaboration, alongside traditional academic skills, is key to developing students who can better navigate our complex world and become our next generation of leaders.

It’s time to change our approach to education, and especially assessment, to guide children towards hands-on, creative, and engaging experiences that nurture passion for life-long learning. Creativity is one of the most important skills that today’s learners will need, to be part of tomorrow’s workforce — one that will be heavily influenced by AI and remote-learning — and is critical for students to develop the skills, tenacity and resilience needed to succeed in a world that may look dramatically different post-Covid-19.

Students will not re-enter the classrooms they left. As we navigate this pandemic, they will continue to be faced with challenges that will draw heavily on their socio-emotional skills. We have a responsibility to build a future in which all children can flourish and where they can engage in meaningful learning experiences that integrate traditional academic skills with cognitive, creative, social, emotional and physical skills. This is a critical moment to reform our education system. Let’s not squander it.

John Goodwin, CEO, The LEGO Foundation Billund, Denmark