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Are we having the right conversation? October 4, 2013

Posted by Tony in Education comment, Education Notes, ICT in education.

Albert Einstein said “It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education”, and wasn’t he correct?

The winds of change are blowing again in Australia and the term ‘formal education’ is beginning to appear again in the national educational discussion?

This discussion focuses on the content of some areas of the Australian curriculum and how it’s resourced.  For goodness sake, this is not the debate we need to have, we don’t need to “return” to formal education we need to educate our students to be contributors in our world.

We need to talk about empowering teachers to teach and helping students learn.  We need to stay out of teachers’ and their students’ way and let them get on with education! They are trained, they are prepared, they are educated, let them do their job.  Let them decide what is the best way to teach!

For me the education process has fundamental problems that need to be discussed and fixed and not a discussion about the role of the teacher. What happened to the discussion about individual student needs, and why students learn differently?

So what is a fundamental problem …..in Australia (and many places elsewhere) education is designed as a linear process. (It’s an historical thing!)  We move from kindergarten to prep then to grade one and so it goes. We obtain a year 12 score and then we move on to university. It’s all straight line stuff, that mass produces, and ‘ churns out’ a final product.

This discussion needs to be unpacked as this educational linear model exists on various levels: it can refer to curriculum, to the physical environment, to the quality of teachers or to how the students learn.

Sir Ken Robinson helps our understanding when he makes a comparison to the industrial model, where production is key and mass production is the aim, to an agricultural model where not ‘being sure’ of the end result is accepted and providing a fertile field for growth and development is more important.

For me this is a far more important fundamental discussion topic.

We’re not talking about the important issues!



1. John Turner - October 4, 2013

So true. Yet enduring question is – why do we keep having this same conversation year upon year, and what will it take to be able to cross the Rubicon. Perhaps it is like a a variation of the old adage “for dumbness to prevail it only takes intelligent people to keep doing the same things” Keep up the good fight. Regards from HK

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