Sunday, 24 January 2016

Global 21st century learning !

The author of Tabula Rasa explains why she blogs.

"Sadly, education in the UK isn’t always good enough. Far too many children pass through the doors of our schools into the real world knowing little, unable to read, and incapable of expressing themselves. To me, this is a tragedy. Our education system is flawed and we need to do something about it urgently."

"I find myself in a system that punishes me for standing up and teaching, and that tells me I ought to prioritise relevance and engagement over the enriching, vitally important cultural capital that, at present, is reserved for the wealthy. I find myself feeling angry that the poorest children in the country are so often treated like fools, and are not given access to their birthright: the collective thinking of thousands of people, the thinking that has moulded and shaped the way we look at the world and must be handed down to the next generation if we are to have any chance of preserving it."

Tabula Rasa

Another breath of fresh air comes from David Livingstone in the Vancouver Sun:

"An ambitious new public school curriculum produced by "educational experts" is set to be unveiled in every B.C. school affecting every student in every grade. Yet few parents I have talked with know their children are about to become the subjects in a very ambitious social experiment based on some questionable hypotheses."

"The new curriculum is designed for the "21st century learner" for whom, we are told by the Ministry of Education, learning facts will become less important."

"Now, as a university professor, I happen to notice quite a few students in my introductory classes arrive knowing very few facts about Canadian history or government. Nevertheless, the new curriculum will "emphasize higher-order concepts over facts to enable deeper learning and understanding" ("Enabling Innovation: Transforming Curriculum and Assessment," 2012). Facts would seem to get in the way of 21st century learning."

"`Big Ideas` will be emphasized, even though the Social Science 10 draft curriculum, covering the incredibly rich and complex period from 1919 to the present, culminates remarkably in only four of them."

"One such Big Idea is that "Development in Canadian society can be viewed in many different ways depending on an individual’s worldview or experience." But I’m afraid this idea won’t encourage learning or `discovery.`"

"First, it’s the conclusion to which the selected facts remaining in the curriculum must be marshalled. Students won’t be encouraged to discover any Big Ideas themselves; they will be led to idea already planted by the experts. It resembles a game of geocaching, not an honest search for truth."

"Second, it extinguishes the motive for learning. It declares an obvious fact people have different "worldviews" implying, furthermore, that each is equally valid. What’s the point of learning if we already "know" that every perspective is equally valid or (what amounts to the same thing) that each perspective is equally invalid? It won’t take long for students to "discover" the whole exercise is pointless."

"Our kids deserve what schools used to claim to teach: How to evaluate carefully and critically different perspectives, especially their own. And they need to know facts to support their reasoning. That used to be the point of a liberal education, which intended to free people from the "worldview" society imposes on them, not have them wallow in it."

For more thoughts about global 21st century learning see also:

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