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MAC's future-ready initiative

We spend a lot of time at MacLachlan contemplating the future. This is neither mere rumination nor fantasy but the real work that occupies much of our time. While we don’t gaze into crystal balls to provide insight, we devote a great deal of effort in staying at the very leading edge of contemporary and futurist educational thought.

Perhaps no where more so than in education does anticipating and contemplating the future matter more. In fact when we speak and write about re-imagining possibilities we are doing so based on the firm knowledge that what we know about the future is this – it’s going to be different!

You can read all kinds of reports presenting scenarios that by the time children entering school today graduate the jobs they will be filling don’t yet exist. So how do you go about training students within that reality?

We have a remarkable team of teachers at MAC and working in “radical collaboration” we have adopted Stanford University’s Design Thinking program to launch our latest MAC initiative. Stanford’s program was created to launch learning experiences that help people unlock their creative potential and apply it to the world.

One thing that might surprise you is that we don’t just teach students at MAC. Our teachers are also lifelong learners and in that vein we’ve been pursuing studies with Future Design School (FDS). FDS supports deep competency development and skill mastery through exceptional learning experiences. Our teachers are leveraging professional development, curriculum, tools and frameworks to build their skills in deeply engaging students in transformational learning.

In this spirit, MAC is introducing something entirely new and entirely in keeping with our reputation for innovation. During this academic year MAC flex days will now be Future Ready Days. These days will give students the opportunity to reach even further beyond the classroom with real world learning. Future Ready Days will be focused on inter-disciplinary, cross-curricular opportunities developed to enable students to identify, integrate and apply knowledge from various sources to engage in big picture learning. Whole and half-day workshops will complement the current curriculum and provide opportunities to prototype, connect and combine theories, knowledge and personal experiences to develop concrete, real-world, trans-disciplinary learning experiences.

Now here’s where I get to do something pretty special.

My sister, Gillian Hadfield, was recently appointed the University of Toronto’s inaugural director of the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society.

In commenting on her appointment she remarked, “I think it’s a great ambition that in 10 years, we’ll have generated new fields of research. I’ll be asking, ‘Have we really created something where we have broken down the silos between disciplines and created truly cross-disciplinary approaches?’ I’d like to see us being part of inventing a new way to do intellectual work.”

Gillian’s ambition for the Schwartz Reisman Institute mirrors what we have been endeavouring to do at MAC since our mother, Audrey, founded the school in 1978.

Quite simply, MAC is fully committed to ensuring that MAC students develop critical thinking skills, adaptability, resilience, higher cognitive skills and the intellectual capacity to think holistically and abstractly about complex systems and be creative in defining how they will meet the future with powerful knowledge and capability.

That’s what we mean by re-imagining possibilities and becoming future ready.

We so look forward to this bold new adventure and welcome you and your children to accompany us as we implement the continuing innovations at MAC.

Author: MacLachlan College

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