I gave a lecture to the entire 4th year of our Primary B.Ed teacher education programme earlier today, entitled: Educational Values in a Digital Age. Above are the slides that accompanied the lecture. I criticised the worst aspects of formalised schooling where children are taught en masse, and I called for a more learner centred ethos in education. Sure, there is differentiation in schools, but we really don't go far enough, due to lack of time, rigid curriculum and far too few teachers leading to large and often unmanageable classes. But there is an even deeper problem: Teachers are trying to prepare children for work in a world that is constantly changing. I made the point that digital technologies and social media can help to overcome some of the problems teachers face as they get students ready to enter a world of work we can't even begin to imagine yet.
I quoted from Yvonne Robert's book 'Grit: the skills for success and how they are grown', which I picked up after hearing her keynote at Handheld Learning in October. It is a brilliant critique of the current assessment regimes. Roberts argues convincingly that current assessment methods place far too much emphasis on academic qualifications and not enough on self discipline and personal skills. She also points out that teaching literacy, numeracy and science is not enough to prepare children for a world of work which is constantly changing and unpredictable. She calls for more emphasis to be placed on helping students in coping with change, creative thinking and collaborative working.
The 160 students in the group were animated in their discussion of these points, both during and after the lecture. I'm very encouraged by these excellent young people. They are the new revolutionaries - the young, dynamic new teachers that can go into their schools and make a real difference. Let's hope their more experienced colleagues support them and harness their knowledge and enthusiasm.