TITLE: The case for transformation
AUTHOR: Rob McIntosh
Every young person has the right to an education providing them with the capabilities to live a fulfilling life.
Despite good intentions, many of our young people are still not being given this opportunity. Given the rapid changes occurring in the world of work, technology, society and global inter-connectedness, ensuring every child has this opportunity requires a new vision for education and a bold, transformative action agenda.
The teaching and learning that will equip learners best in this new world is experiential, engages the passion and interests of each individual learner and supports them to develop and pursue life goals in ways and at a pace that meet their needs and aspirations. Such learning does not focus primarily on the transmission of knowledge. Instead learning which integrates knowledge, accessed from a wide range of sources, with the development of key competencies will build the capabilities needed to tackle real world challenges which are meaningful to the learner and important for society.
Learning like this offers the best chance of addressing current inequities because it is a strengths rather than deficit-based approach which engages the whole learner in a way that relates to the reality of his or her life.
We have many examples of learning like this already occurring, but not as standard practice. Unless we are very intentional in making it so, we will not equip all learners for the future they deserve and society needs. Those most likely to miss out will be those who have missed out most in the past.
Achieving the full-scale system transformation we need will require a new national vision for the future of learning, a compelling story of the future, built by broad consensus and reinforced by leaders at all levels of the education system.
It will also involve a core recognition that the learning that is needed occurs in an ecosystem, where many participants are engaged in enabling each learner to learn the capabilities required in local, national and increasingly global contexts. Those involved in supporting learners in this are not only educational professionals, as important as they are, but are found in the community, business, philanthropic bodies, tertiary organisations and, of course, government. Creating this ecosystem requires that all participants work collaboratively towards the shared vision, guided by effective leadership and supportive national policy frameworks.
To make this a reality we must invest in building the required professional capability; take a fresh look at the resources required to secure learning success; create an environment in which innovation not only flourishes in one location but contributes to changed practice in other locations; foster learning in a wide range of settings beyond the traditional school boundaries and with a broader range of contributors; and set in place the policy frameworks that will enable and support transformation of teaching and learning.
Read Rob’s paper Future directions in New Zealand schooling: The case for transformation here.Read More