The Wisdom of Peter Drucker (What We Need to Teach)

Peter DruckerPeter Drucker has maintained that “Education will become the center of the knowledge society, and schooling its key institution.” In the 21st century a premium will be placed on the acquisition of knowledge from disparate sources through streaming technologies we can scarcely now imagine. Successful men and women will be multi-disciplined multi-taskers. Complex decisions will need to be made quickly and in fluid situations that are changing rapidly. Decisiveness and uncertainty will occupy the same sides of the coin. Managers and leaders, in all walks of life, will need to be adroit in their application of theoretical knowledge to “real-world” solutions. For all of these reasons, Drucker insists that students today must develop “a habit of continuous learning.”  And then he offers these powerful thoughts, throwing them at us like thunderbolts:

“What mix of knowledge is required for everybody? What is ‘quality’ in learning and teaching? All these will, of necessity, become central concerns of the knowledge society, and central political issues. In fact, it may not be too fanciful to anticipate that the acquisition and distribution of formal knowledge will come to occupy the place in the politics of the knowledge society that the acquisition of property and income have occupied in the two or three centuries that we have come to call the Age of Capitalism [my emphasis].”

Drucker wrote these words, not within the first decade of the century in which we now live, but in 1995. His prescience and foresight should cause us all to think deeply and analytically about what we teach, how we teach, why we teach the subjects we do, and how we best prepare our students not simply to get in to the colleges of their dreams but also how to become the lifelong learners they will need to be.

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