The world is changing rapidly. Regrettably, education is not keeping pace with change. We need to re-think education. Toffler said 21st Century learning is about learning, unlearning & relearning. So true. Governments are rarely visionary. Educators need to lead the vision of education as politicians cannot. Do not. Education should be about empowerment of people. Education should be about growing people.
With clear shifts to online activity everywhere else, we should expect this to happen in education. This will change the nature of schooling. To not expect a fundamental shift to online would be to make a fundamental mistake. We need to train teachers to know how to maximise benefits of online learning. We need to re-shape online learning space and make it personalised, engaging & suited to the task. We need to recognise that in some contexts, students will more effectively pull in relevant learning via the Internet than they receive in class.
Online learning could empower students in developing world to rise above the knowledge ceiling of their often untrained teachers.
Will schools have a role into the future? Yes! Schools should be the core functional, relational communities of society. Students/parents will select a ‘base camp’ community & from there select relevant providers of learning opportunities. Schools need to be at core relational. Teachers who cannot relate have no place.
Physical space is just as important as virtual and/or pedagogic space. Kill off desks, chairs and lockers. There are so many better & engaging ways to furnish a space. Think creatively. Children live in multi-age communities (and will work in same). Change schooling to replicate this.
Leadership roles should match priorities, not history. Budgets need to follow vision. We need to grow people - students, teachers, parents, administrators. Students must learn to be engaged learners. Parents need to grow their understanding of the realities their children will face, not re-live their own school experience.
I heard it said recently that “schools are not mortgage paying institutions”. We should teach because we are passionate. Teaching could be about creative direction, rather than about behaviour management. We need to reorganise learning communities to allow teachers to shift their roles from being control agents to creative guides. Teachers need continual PD to learn, unlearn, relearn how to teach in collaborative multi-team environments.
Engaged learning cultures need to be stronger than any other culture a child experiences. We are assessing the wrong outcomes. Literacy & numeracy are critical, but so are many other areas. Discipline silos should give way to authentic real life integrated approaches. Curriculum should be meaningful, contextual, authentic, integrated, challenge based, relational.
Schools need to be located in new spaces avoiding/rejecting the ‘one box per batch’ classroom model. Schools should take over empty factories, empty malls as those spaces offer great collaborative opportunities. Existing schools would make excellent retirement villages. One room = great space for a retirement unit; good disability access too.
Teachers need to grow their capacity to be inspirational mentors, working in teams. We should kill off the one teacher per class model. It is fraught with emotional risks.
Learning is life; life is learning. Learning should enable and grow innovative capacities. View learning as a growth opportunity and grow the opportunities for students. Learning involves sessions of highly engaged community conversation. Learning involves collaborative team approaches. Learning involves times of individual high focus. Learning involves real life contexts, regularly. Learning involves times of expert knowledge transfer - small group, large group, individual.
Students should be given capacity to delve deeply into topics, not punctuated by factory-style bells. Schools need to experiment with far more timetable-less days - opportunities for real life learning. Street, social, sport etc cultures do not need to be defeated, rather take the backseat to engaged learning culture. School communities need to assertively shape a positive engaged learning culture by questioning every aspect of their operation. If engaged learning doesn’t naturally occur, look at what could be changed to nurture it.
Teacher PD needs to replicate the teaching methods expected of teachers. No more prolonged one-size-fits-all whole group instruction. Universities teach MBA courses in collective teams. Why don’t those same institutions use the same methods for training teachers?
And assessment. What do we think is ultimately important? Five years out from school, has a student continued learning? Could we measure that? Five years out from school, has a student shown capacity to be compassionate? Could we measure that? Five years out from school, has a student shown capacity to positively grow community? Could we measure that? Five years out from school, has a student shown capacity to take up or start a job? Could we measure that?