My 500 words for http://purposed.org.uk/
Sort of disclaimer: I have met and value the many excellent teachers and schools out there and you know who you are. There are others…
I’m grateful to the previous #purposed authors for the clarity of their thoughts on this topic.
So, what’s the purpose of education?
If we’re asking; ‘What’s the purpose of the education system?’ then I’m tempted to say;
‘To ensure everyone knows their place’.
Its purpose is to manage their expectations and confirm we have enough doctors, lawyers, waiters and hairdressers. The education system is about maintaining the status quo – not about challenging or changing it.
Teach to the exams, based on a curriculum, set by those in power and, hey, if we throw in a few interactive whiteboards, ‘safe’ websites, a couple of Wordles and a Nintendo, it’ll look like we’re making a difference. Hmm.
If we’re asking what’s the point of education and, I suppose learning?.. Now, that’s a great question.
I wasn’t going to be a teacher. I was going to be a potter. I had a place at art college – and then I discovered sociology and literature. I graduated and wondered what to do with (what was once described as) a degree in ‘Bugger All’.
A great teacher said to me; ‘Before you decide to become a teacher you must decide what you want to achieve – the purpose of education is Change’ His words have stayed with me for over 30 years.
So I would change the world. I was one of those ‘creative’ and ‘innovative’ teachers who pioneered, oracy, collaborative writing, cross phase projects, multimedia authoring and ICT for a purpose – not a subject. The result? The Head of ICT described me as a ‘Dabbler’ and punished kids I sent along to ‘use the computers’.
What has changed? Has Building Schools for the Future changed anything?
On the bell, start and end the lesson,
Start at 9am – end at 4pm
Yes, we have technology in the classroom and let’s ensure we use it appropriately – not to replicate 19th centuryclassrooms with new multi mediocre learning opportunities.
Use tech when it adds value – not because it’s new. In the mid 90’s to my shame I taught a class of 4yr olds to use digital cameras, upload and print their pictures. I thought I was so bleeding edge, yet it was the pedagogical equivalent of teaching a bear to ride a bike.
What about the kids who don’t ‘get it’ during The Lesson? Those who may think of the answer at teatime, at their friends’ house or during the holidays?
That’s what mobile learning platforms are for. We need teachers online at 8pm and at weekends – ready to praise, support and engage with learners and participate in their learning – when they’re ready to learn. Why aren’t we marching in the streets demanding the right to change the education system?
As a father I want my kids to be confident, creative and happy.
As adults I need them to be adaptable and tenacious problem solving learners.
These are the qualities and skills we need to nurture in our children – and our colleagues.
What’s the purpose of education? I want the same for the kids in our schools as I want for my own kids…
…the opportunities and ambition to change the world.