Wednesday, 29 November 2017

I came across this whilst reading an article on the "Word on the Streets" website. Word on the Streets describes itself as "Information for Transformational People".  I think I'm a gatecrasher. Anyway, they had taken the questions below from the Innovation Unit's blog. So shamelessly I'm repeating them here. I like the 10 questions and the way they are challenging so many of our presuppositions about school education.

From a blog by The Innovation Unit

"The Innovation Unit is a social enterprise that grows new solutions to complex social challenges. They use innovation to help create a world where more people belong and contribute to thriving societies.

In a recent blog, they observe that our model of schooling is more than 100 years old and has barely changed in that time, while the rest of society – our industrial practices, technology, the media we use, our leisure activities, the global scope of our world, communication systems – has undergone a revolution.

One example of revolution has been the Open University (OU) through which more than three million people, most failed by their schooling, have passed OU degrees. Although some moves have happened, this revolutionary innovation has not happened in schools where we need 100% of students to be skilled and capable citizens able to contribute positively to both their economic and social world.

To demonstrate, they ask 10 questions:

1. Why do we still have age-cohorting?  It certainly isn’t because we believe that all students mature and progress at the same rates. Watch rehearsals for a school production or a concert if you wonder about mixed-age learning.

2. Why have we retained so exclusively the subject-based curriculum, when no tasks in the real world segregate knowledge or its applications in that way?

3. Why are schools designed into corridors and classroom spaces – such that it makes teaching the most isolated and un-stimulating professional practice?

4. Why do we assess all students at the same time, rather when they are ready to demonstrate mastery (think music grades, or driving test, or sports coaching awards, or Open University modules, or PhD dissertations)?

5. Why do schools set homework, when they already have students in school for 25-30 hours a week – and when the world outside school is rich in opportunities for self-initiated learning?

6. Why do most schools have 25 one-hour lessons – when nobody believes that it is a unit that is enabling of deep or applied learning?

7. Why is the assessment outcome that matters still an exam written on pen and paper and marked by anonymous paid markers – when teachers know students and their capabilities from years of engagement with them?

8. Does speaking matter? Do so-called hard skills matter? Do so-called soft skills? Does making and doing matter?  If so, why are none of these things given high currency?

9. Why do we persist with the corrosive language and practice of ‘ability’ groupings.  Schools are the only places where it is deemed appropriate to name people ‘low ability or ‘less able’.

10. Finally, a contentious one. Given that schools are centres of learning, why are the adult learning norms and practices in most of our schools so abysmally poor?"

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