Time to think of the ‘big picture’ about the purpose of education

Time for new thinking

 Educational Readings 15 March 1980
Collated by Allan Alach and Bruce Hammonds
 Introductory thoughts
Just listened to an economist Kate Rayworth on National Radio about the purpose of the economy. Currently it’s about unlimited growth with minimal concern with the effect it has on the sustainability of our environment nor with the problems of inequality that the current emphasis on unlimited growth has created.
The purpose of the economy, she believes, should now focus on meeting the needs of all people and the sustainability of the planet rather than growth and self-interest.
We now need an economy that focuses on helping all people thrive and one that sustains the environment for future generations; an economy based on ‘wellbeing’ and an economy that faces up to the massive ecological and inequality crisis created by the ‘growth at all costs’ economy. We now need an economy, she says, that is premised on ensuring all people thriving in a regenerating environment.
In this ‘new’ economy what then is the purpose of education?
 Currently, as a result of Tomorrows Schools, education is based on schools competing with success being measured by growth in achievement in a narrow range of metrics.  As a result we have developing ‘winner and loser’ schools with little thought to the wellbeing of all schools.
The Tomorrows Schools Review gives us an opportunity to think beyond current narrow school

self-interest and to consider ensuring the success of all students in all schools. An education that ensures all students leave able to make a better job of sustaining the environment than the current generation.

This week young people are marching in an effort to raise our consciousness of the dire straits current economic policies, based on unlimited and narrowly conceived growth have created.

Bruce Hammonds
Learn about Kate Rayworth
Eight ways of teaching  creativity.
Mia O’Brien, a lecturer at Queensland University, knows about the importance of teaching creatively. This excerpt is from her 2012 study Fostering a Creativity Mindset for Teaching (and Learning):
“In order for creativity to be a priority within schooling, we need teachers who understand the nature of creativity and appreciate its pedagogical value. However, creativity is not usually high on the list of reasons for choosing teaching.”
What this tells us is that teachers have an interesting challenge with creativity. Not only must they inspire it in their learners, but they must also give themselves full permission tobe creative as well. After all, teaching creatively means considering how creativity can apply to every responsibility a teacher has.’
Educating students for their future not our past
It’s so much easier to educate students for our past, than for their future. Schools are inherently

conservative social systems, as parents we get nervous when our children learn things we don’t understand, and even more when they no longer study things that were important for us.

Teachers are more comfortable teaching how they were taught than how they were taught to teach. And politicians can lose an election over education issues but rarely win one over education, because it takes way more than an election cycle to translate good intentions into better results.
The biggest risk to schooling today isn’t its inefficiency, but that our way of schooling is losing its purpose and relevance.’
 The value of the Education Hub proposal

‘Perhaps having access to an Education Hub at the time would have helped resolve current issues? A perfect mix of paid education professionals and locals that had the time and energy and emotional detachment to go through parent and teacher  could  make a huge difference.’

Why Playfulness Is the Key to Success in the 21st-Century

‘“I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.Isaac Newton I like this because it shows you the child in him, the one we can recognize in our own reflection if we pay attention. But more so, I like it because, from this human image, we can take out something for ourselves, something that I think is becoming more relevant today.’

Why Teachers Must Become Change Agents
Michael G. Fullan

Teacher education programs must help teaching candidates to link the moral purpose that influences them with the tools that will prepare them to engage in productive change.

Teaching at its core is a moral profession. Scratch a good teacher and you will find a moral purpose.’
#3quotes from Bruner
Steve Wheeler:
‘In my #3quotes series I have been citing directly from the texts of education thinkers, because it is

Jerome Bruner

important to apply ideas and theories in context. Too often, writers cite from theorists using secondary sources instead of delving into the original texts. In this post I will featuring direct quotations from legendary American psychologist Jerome S Bruner, whose work focused on the psychology of learning, pedagogical methods such as instructional scaffolding and the spiral curriculum, as well as social constructivist learning methods.’

Lies You Have Been Told About Educational Technology

‘When it comes to educational technology, we are all being lied to. Educational policy-makers, teachers, students, and parents have been made to believe that modern technology is “transforming the way students learn,” and “revolutionizing education.” Schools issue tablets and laptops instead of textbooks. Students spend much of their school day and night tied to screens for schoolwork and homework. The ed-tech companies have successfully crafted, packaged and sold to schools many myths masquerading as facts. These are spun in such a way that we are made to feel bad for questioning them. However, once parents and decision makers see the truth, they will demand change.’ 

The Key to Effective Classroom Management
‘A three-phase process helps build strong teacher-student bonds, which can reduce disruptive behavior.’
Peter Gray

Children’s Freedom: A Human Rights Perspective

‘For most people human rights have increased, but for children they have shrunk. In fact, children today are far more deprived of liberty than they were when I was a child more than 60 years ago, or when my parents were children 90 years ago.  And children are suffering because of that deprivation.  As I’ve documented elsewhere, children today are suffering at record levels from anxiety, depression, and even suicide.’
Dawn of a new creative era / Tomorrows Schools Review
Bali Haque

‘The Tomorrow’s Schools Independent Taskforce spent almost six months looking at the evidence and held over 200 meetings all over the country. So is our current education system still relevant? Does it work for you as a parent or school board member? Does it meet the needs of our children today?’

Sir Ken Robinson’s book is a must read if we want to bring education into the 21stC.

‘Our plea is for creative teachers, particularly those in New Zealand, to share Sir Ken Robinson’s book with as many teachers and schools as they can because the message is so important. If we really believe in giving every student the opportunity to leave formal education with their love of learning intact  and with all their unique interests, gifts and talents identified and amplified then we really have no choice.’

Guy Claxton : What is the Point of School

‘Anyone who has attended one of Guy Claxton‘ presentations ought to buy his book ‘What’s the Point of School’. This book is powerful and timely examination of why our schools are built to fail, and how to redesign them to meet the needs of the modern world.’ The challenge of redesigning schools is a big ask but the book gives lots of very practical advice about how to create enthusiastic learners and more effective teaching. In particular the ‘learning power’ ideas gives guidance to how New Zealand teachers can implement the ‘key competencies’ of the new curriculum.’
Teaching and Learning Quotes

‘For too long schools have had to comply with endless bureaucratic top down edicts, confusing curriculums and associated accountability demands which have taken the focus away from

learning and teaching. As these imposed technocratic systems falter it is now time for creative teachers to also add their voices to the debate.

Students are born with a powerful desire to learn. Everything we do as parents and teachers must ensure that this powerful desire is kept alive. If there were to be one thing to be continually assessed it would be this desire… too many students leave with little to show for their time at school. Too many leave alienated and powerless.’

Categories: Education