Inspiration for Meaningful Education

With all the talk about NAPLAN and performance based pay for teachers that has been circling around lately I felt the need to seek out some inspirational material to restore my faith in the purpose and possibilities of education.

My first port of call was to return to one of my old favourties, Sir Ken Robinson.  I have always found solace, but also excitement, in his ideas about what makes meaningful education and in this clip I like how he disputes the very foundation of our education system.

Why do we have to be constrained by the boundaries that past practises have placed on us?  Let’s not be afraid of making fundamental changes to our education system.

Yesterday I came across a keynote from the recent International Society of Technology in Education conference in San Diego that was on this week.  The talk by Dr Yong Zhao was enlightening, challenging and exciting.  He presented data that showed PISA scores have a negative correlation with entrepenaureal activities, as well as students enjoyment and confidence.  He also talked about Literacy and Numeracy being the based not the goal, that education should be about real life applications and enhancing individual students’ strengths.

This video of his talk includes some extended introduction.  I recommend watching from around 54 minutes.

Both these videos are an antidote to the standardised testing rhetoric that is fed by the desire to measure educational achievement by only looking at limited specific knowledge.  But is the purpose of education only for our children to be able to successful memorise information and perform well on tests?  These experts successfully argue that this should not be the focus of education as it will be a detriment to individual children as well as the creativity of our nation as a whole.

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