You’re Being So Dramatic - The importance of Classroom Drama for ‘future proofing’ our children

A blog by Katrina Holmes-Blissner
The world as we know it is ending! Okay fine, I might be being a tad dramatic, however it is true that we have entered a time of transformation. Employment opportunities are rapidly changing with the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the workplace. That’s right folks, Robots are coming for your children’s jobs!

Sorry I got carried away again… but it is important to acknowledge that the landscape is changing. As educators and parents, it is our responsibility to ‘future proof’ young people and prepare them for a workplace that may look drastically different in only a matter of years.

The fear of machines taking over jobs thereby making humans redundant is not new, however what is new is some of the emerging statistics. The World Economic Forum (WEF) concluded in a recent report, “a new generation of smart machines, fuelled by rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, could potentially replace a large proportion of existing human jobs” (WEF, 2020). 85 million jobs to be exact. Yep, you heard me right. The organisation cites that automation will displace about 85 million jobs by 2025 (Kelly, 2020).

The report goes on to state that technological adoption by companies will transform tasks, jobs, and skills with forty-three percent of businesses surveyed indicating that they are set to reduce their workforce due to technology integration (WEF, 2020). “So how do we prepare young students?” I hear you ask. Fantastic question, but before we get to that we need to know what jobs are and are not at risk.

In 2013 two academics from Oxford University, Frey and Osbourne (2013) examined 702 occupations and explored how susceptible they were to being replaced by computerisation. They estimate that “47 percent of total US employment is in the high-risk category, meaning that associated occupations are potentially automatable” (Frey & Osbourne, 2013, p. 38). Frey and Osbourne (2013) suggest that “employment in routine intensive occupations – i.e., occupations mainly consisting of tasks following well-defined procedures that can easily be performed by sophisticated algorithms” (p.2) are most at risk. Within this 47 percent of employment includes areas such as Office and Administrative Support; Sales and Related; Services; Production; Transportation and Material Moving; Construction and Extraction. In contrast, the findings demonstrated that the 33 percent of jobs in the low-risk area include categories such as Education, Legal, Community Services, Arts and Media; Healthcare Practitioners and Technical; Computer, Engineering and Science; and Management, Business, and Financial (Frey & Osbourne, 2013).

Frey and Osbourne (2013) repeatedly argue it is the jobs that require “creative and social intelligence” that are less susceptible to being replaced by computerization. They state that: Our findings thus imply that as technology races ahead, workers will reallocate to tasks that are non-susceptible to computerization – i.e., tasks requiring creative and social intelligence. For workers to win the race, however, they will have to acquire creative and social skills. (p. 45). I wonder where kids are going to learn creative and social intelligence? Oh wait, that’s right we offer DRAMA here at Ambrose Treacy College. Hooray, the children are saved!

No, but seriously, …
Frey and Osbourne (2013) reported that occupations requiring skills in fine Arts, originality, negotiation, persuasion, social perceptiveness and assisting and caring for others are the least susceptible to computerisation. And many of those skills are deeply embedded in Drama Education.

Research continues to demonstrate the critical role of the Arts for our humanity as well as its potential role in transforming learning and improving student engagement, empathy and learning outcomes (Saunders, 2021). It can also enable students to generate new knowledge and skills that are transferable to a variety of artistic, social, and work-related contexts (Drama Australia, 2015). Now, it is also clear that it can assist our students in preparation for a new age workforce.
So… maybe it is best to be a little DRAMAtic!

Katrina


References:
Drama Australia. (2015). Drama Makes Meaning (p. 1). Retrieved from https://dramaaustralia.org.au/wp-

Frey, Carl. & Osborne, Michael. (2013). The future of employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation? Oxford: Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford.

Kelly, J. (2020). U.S. Lost Over 60 Million Jobs—Now Robots, Tech And Artificial Intelligence Will Take Millions More. Retrieved April 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2020/10/27/us-lost-over-60-million-jobs-now-robots-tech-and-artificial-intelligence-will-take-millions-more/?sh=6042df801a52

Saunders, J. (2021) Saunders, J.N. The power of the arts in learning and the curriculum: a review of research literature. Curric Perspect 41, 93–100 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41297-021-00138-4 World Economic Forum. (2020). The Future of Jobs Report. Retrieved from https://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Future_of_Jobs_2020.pdf

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