It is very easy to come up with the good ideas, someone says “we should do [insert idea here]”. Unless ideas flow from a bold compelling vision, we are merely making the existing paradigm a little shinier. Programs are great, but only when they are part of the strategy to achieve the overall vision
A bold new vision actually changes the paradigm, programs don’t
I have written before about the need to articulate a new vision for education in Australia. New programs – whether they are building programs, computer/technology programs or testing programs are only polishing the status quo, it suddenly looks better, people may be initially impressed, however, in reality, nothing has changed, nor has it moved us forward.
When vision is first, then the programs follow, programs that support the vision are identified. The cart comes after the horse for a very good reason.
Despite how each cabinet minister may regard his or her own portfolio, we know that education is the most important one (bias acknowledged), because it carries the authority to bring change that can impact every child in the nation and thereby contribute to our country’s ongoing success.
Imagine it, a whole nation of people whose educational experience allows for their unique contribution to be expressed and affirmed. This education needs to be both rigorous and flexible (in a range of ways) to be able to feed the passion within each individual.
If we have a vision for education like this:
Australia is internationally recognised for the rich school education that every child experiences, providing the essential skills for life, so that each child will have the opportunity to be an engaged learner whose individual interests and abilities are recognised and affirmed to reach their own potential and add value to the community.
Australia is internationally recognised: we become the country that the world looks to for quality and depth of learning
The rich school education: Depth of knowledge and experiences
Every child experiences: It doesn’t matter where they live, what type of school they go to or how they learn
Providing the essential skills for life: Foundational skills, such as literacy and numeracy, are essential but also the skills for life in the 21st C like collaboration, teamwork, problem solving and creativity
So that each child will have the opportunity: Every school in the nation will be deliberately designed with the learner in mind – the physical learning environment, the delivery of curriculum and provision of learning experiences, and ubiquitous technology that allows for a seamless transition from outside school life to inside school life.
To be an engaged learner whose individual interests and abilities are recognised and affirmed: A personalised approach to the provision of learning experiences, one that recognises that education is not one-size-fits-all. Technology and global connectedness is the game changer in educational innovation and provides a wealth of opportunities for rich learning experiences that the industrial era paradigm just can’t manage.
Will add value to the community: Can you imagine the difference it will make if we provide the conditions to maximise learning, when young people find out what they are good at/interested in and are given permission to pursue this?
Implicit in this vision is the need for passionate, engaged and highly skilled professionals who will administer and lead the educational communities and teach* our children.
Creativity, innovation and problem-solving are the currency of the new millennium. We need a vision for school education that recognises the times in which we live. Many schools and systems are making advances in transforming school education, however, a bold vision from the top will set a standard and make the difference to every corner of our nation.
*Teach: referring to the planning, programming and delivery of learning experiences where the skill of teaching is one among others, including facilitator, guide, mentor, coach