In the same way, the longstanding ‘business model’ that is school education needs to look at the times and reinvent to be relevant for young people and provide the learning opportunities they need for a world outside school. One that is radically different from the default model many students experience.
People wanted stuff, stuff needed to be provided.
In this culture, people were colloquially referred to as cogs in the machine. They worked hard for a day’s pay. There was little input, opportunity to contribute ideas or collaborate. People may have worked side-by-side, but each were specifically attending to their own duties. They started work at the whistle, they clocked on and then ended work with the whistle, they clocked off. The boss told them what to do and when to do it.
As a result, the school system as we know it emerged. It reflected the society and prepared young people with the skills required and the associated social norms, including the idea that work was the means of supporting your family, paying bills and keeping busy. The idea of self-expression through work was sheer fantasy!
Work was compartmentalised and school moved the same way.
- Rooms separated students
- Subjects and disciplines directed content
- Student were grouped according to dates of birth
- The time and duration for learning was specified
- The furniture was fixed and uniform
Learning was segmented.
Educators are pioneers and navigate unchartered territory and have done throughout history. The industrial-era school was a response to what the community needed at the time. Moving away from the agriculturally based society to an urbanised industrial society, education provided skills and routine.
This isn’t the predominant model of the workplace, today. Increasingly in the developed world, employees are considered the most valuable resource, not just cog in a machine and they genuinely have a voice in how business works.
Tony Wagner, in his book The Global Achievement Gap, outlined seven skills that the business sector has identified as necessary for survival in the knowledge age.
- Critical thinking and problem solving
- Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
- Agility and adaptability
- Initiative and entrepreneurship
- Effective oral and written communication
- Accessing and analysing information
- Curiosity and imagination
The Beach: smaller tables and more comfortable chairs, music, soft lighting where most employees come to work individually or in pairs
Bistro/cafeteria: an eating space with tables, which is where most meetings take place
Marketplace: a touchdown area, where people come to work alone, to meet in large groups, to look for others, etc.,
- ‘chalk and talk’
- segmented subjects
- cohorts that are based on the assumption of age-based grouping
- uniformity and one-size-fits-many curriculum
Somehow, I think not.