Are the pollies frightened of our kids becoming too educated? I know they talk about Australia leading the intellectual race, but are their words simply designed to appease anxious parents and apprehensive industry? Could suggested education reforms be calculated for control and accountability, rather than aspiring for innovation and construction?
Naplan, MySchools, budget cuts to education portfolios, blaming teachers for not being smart enough, increased administrative tasks and imposing rigid systems, all seem counterproductive. How can they inspire the flexibility of thought or adoption of proactive strategies that inspire the habits of mind required for a dynamic 21st century workforce.
Perhaps governments are concerned that a flexible thinking, critically literate society would see past political rhetoric. Maybe those whose leadership is based on hurling insults or fudging figures are worried because creative and emotionally literate individuals are less predictable. Could they be worried that a thinking populous would undermine the fabric of society as they know it?
Of course critical thinking and blind compliance do not go hand in hand. A critically, creatively and emotionally literate society has the potential to recognise untruths, make objective decisions and choose to act responsibly, all of their own accord. What would the administrators and bureaucrats do if the vast majority of the population were able to voice their opinions in an authentic and assertive manner? Worse, what would they do if people had the tools to think for themselves? Is that why calls for effective education reform fall on deaf ears?
Schools need the freedom and funds to do what is in the best interest of students. Our children need the empowerment inspired by critical, creative and emotionally literacy. The children of today are the leaders of the future. It is time they were given an opportunity to develop an authentic voice and provided with the platform to speak. They need to learn the focused, self motivated skills of lifelong learners. The old industrial model of schooling is no longer applicable. Students do not need to sit in organised rows, diligently digesting content poured from a fountain of textbook trapped knowledge. Instead they need to become digitally proficient investigators who can analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a variety of sources. Today’s student needs to become a flexible thinker who has the courage to reach beyond what is known to what could be.
Literacy is the key. Critical, creative and emotional literacy can open the door to 21st century learning. It is the foundation for collaborative and project based learning experiences that offer opportunities to participate in learning that has a practical, real world focus.
It is time to take a proactive approach and equip all children with the tools they require to access inner awareness, discover an authentic voice and become confident lifelong learners who have the skills to thrive in a digitally enhanced landscape.
Welcome to a world of Expression