Robot Bricklayers

I often read these days that adults shouldn’t ask what children want they to be when they grow up. Instead it should be rephrased something along the lines of “What problems do you want to solve?” The idea is that all sorts of jobs will be disappearing as robots and advanced technologies take centre stage in the near future, so we need to cover our bases. What might that look like in the classroom? Here is a short and perhaps unreliable account of a recent interaction in class. Lets bounce!

“Mr J, I want to be a bricklayer like my dad when I grow up, it’s a cool job!”

Mr J’s response was measured, “Ahh, okay Delvina, but instead of saying what you would like to be when you grow up, I would rather you think of some problems in the world that you would like to solve.”

Delvina was slightly confused. “What do you mean, I want to be a bricklayer?”

“Yes I understand”, replied Mr J, “But, ahh, well yes I suppose, lets run with this, what problems do bricklayers solve?”

Delvina’s reply was confident and assured, “They help build houses, and people need houses right?”

Mr J’s eyes were sparkling now as he broke into a broad grin. “Absolutely, and there is a housing shortage in Sydney at the moment”.

Delvina knew she was on the right track, “Well that’s the problem I want to help solve when I grow up, people will need me to help solve their house problems”. She gushed with the surety of a student who knew she had just pleased her teacher.

“Actually”, said Mr J rather despondently, “Latest research suggests we are unlikely to need bricklayers in the near future”.

Delvina was stunned, “That kinda sucks!”
“Yeh true”, replied My J shrugging his shoulders, “But what are you going to do?”


If you have read this far, thank you and well done.






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