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This report is being released in the lead up to National Tree Day (Sunday 30 July 2017). The report examines how prepared the next generation is to tackle the biggest global challenges facing humanity. These challenges have been defined by the United Nations, with climate change the most concerning challenge overall.

The report presents the results of a snapshot survey of 200 Australian teachers (100 primary, 100 secondary) and what they identified as the most crucial skills students need for the future. Teachers were asked to rank the following skills and attributes in order of importance: STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics); problem solving and critical thinking; creativity and innovation; compassion; ‘grit’ (determination, resilience and perseverance); emotional intelligence and trade skills. The report also includes research from Australia and overseas that demonstrates how the crucial skills identified can be developed through outdoor learning and nature time.

Report Findings:

  • 60% of teachers ranked critical thinking and problem solving, grit and resilience and emotional intelligence as the most important skills for the future, These same skills were identified as students’ weakest, with grit being the weakest overall 
  • Only 4% of surveyed teachers considered STEM skills in the top three most needed skills
  • Less than 34% of Australian teachers taught outdoors for 15 minutes or more in a 10-week Term (excluding lunch, recess and physical education)
  • Only 4% of teachers surveyed considered outdoor learning as most important for fostering inspiration, creativity and problem solving 
  • Research shows outdoor learning helps grow problem solving, grit, emotional intelligence and key educational outcomes, both during and outside of school hours 
  • Nature ignites passion, inspiration, creativity and purpose and plays an important role in the cognitive, emotional and physical development of children
  • Outdoor learning was introduced as part of the Australian Curriculum in 2015
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