Readiness vs preparedness
Posted July 4, 2015on:
This week there were a few online rumblings on being “future ready” in education. These are barks woofing up the wrong tree.
You cannot be truly future ready, but you can be prepared. Readiness is a state of body (being); preparedness is a state of mind (thinking and doing).
For example, you cannot be fully ready for an earthquake, but you can be prepared for one. Likewise, you cannot be absolutely ready for the uncertain future of education, but you can be prepared for what comes. In both cases, the unpredictability of events prevents complete readiness. The capacity of people to respond positively is a sign of preparedness.
I came to this realization after reflecting on this at least four other times:
- 2 May 2013: Prepared or ready? (Readiness is a theoretical construct. Preparedness is a practical mindset.)
- 24 Jun 2013: Not masking preparedness with readiness (Preparedness comes from sensing change and might give the impression of readiness.)
- 27 Nov 2014: Ready or prepared? (Readiness is a function of skillset and knowledge. Preparedness is more a function of mindset and attitude.)
- 16 Feb 2015: You cannot be ready but you can be prepared (Preparedness means being in touch with the present and doing what is relevant now.)
Now I add a bit more to the mix.
I am not playing some petty semantic game. Words not only hold meanings, they also represent values and can shape behaviours. A non-critical use of “future ready” sets people up for an unrealistic task.
Readiness is like a binary state: You are either ready (1) or you are not (0). You are either ready to leave home or you are not. If you think you are not sure, you are actually not ready.
It is all right not to be ready, particularly if the circumstances change constantly. You will manage if you are prepared to adjust, improvise, or change.
Pragmatically speaking, we need thinkers and doers who do not just feed the rhetoric of being “future ready” but focus instead on preparing constantly.
There are bad and good ways to prepare. There are some people in the world who actively prepare for a fictional zombie apocalypse. Sometimes they seem to do this so that if it happens, they can say “I told you so!”.
This is not why educators should prepare for change. We prepare because what we do with educational technology, for example, is important now. Despite how quickly technology can change, being immersed with it keeps us nimble and adaptable. We prepare because such practice helps now and such a mindset also helps in the future.