Generation 2030

Trend E (Social-Emotional Learning at School)

Social-Emotional Learning at School

As a society, we are re-examining the function of education and what kids need to learn in school, beyond reading and math. One of the functions of formal schooling is to support career readiness and help maintain the economy. As we move to a knowledge work economy, we need education for “soft skills” that will carry students successfully into this different working environment. Skills like self regulation, empathy, and the ability to collaborate are foundational skills. These are being introduced as part of Social Emotional Learning, to help kids understand how to engage as people in society. These new educational priorities are shaping the curriculum and supporting new ideas about achievement and educational success.

Possible Implications:

  • As a result of a stronger focus on social-emotional development in school, children may become more emotionally-resilient, which could have positive impacts on mental health and wellness in adulthood.

  • This shift in curriculum could create a disconnect between the skills taught and rewarded in schools, and those emphasized in post-secondary education. A generation of young people may experience difficult transitions between elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels of education.

  • We could see a shift in what skills are measured and tested on standardized testing in public education. This could drive the development of more robust metrics measuring “soft skills.”

  • Employers may struggle to articulate and find the skill sets that are required in a shifting economy. Organizations may be forced to change interview and human resource processes in workplaces to place more emphasis on social and emotional skills.


How new is this trend?

This is regularly in the news or seen on social media. If you haven’t already heard about this, you probably will soon.



What's driving these trends?

Drivers are forces that create change. These can be things like shifting populations and demographics of an area, or cultural movements and stories that we rely on to shape how we believe. Drivers are often the “causes” behind the trends and signals we observe through our scan.


Acknowledgement of Interconnectedness

As our world becomes increasingly complex and global, we have become more aware of the ways in which humans are interconnected with each other, plants, animals, and other elements of the natural world. This awareness is driving change in policy, societal values, and behaviours.


Deformalization is the transition from formal structures, processes, and institutions, to informal ones. Deformalization is enabled in many cases by technology and is occurring as people question traditional views and ways of doing things.


Mechanistic to Holistic Thinking

Since the Industrial Revolution, Western society has embraced a mechanistic view of organizations and communities, breaking systems down and defining a system by its specific parts. A shift is occurring towards holistic thinking, which addresses the complexity, ambiguity and connections between elements within a system. This shift is changing the ways we understand and approach the world around us.