As you are no doubt aware, westernised education has already been through at least four, possibly five ‘eras’, each of which has had a cumulative impact on the next. The question is, what will establish Australia as a world leader in what’s next?
A prediction, based on more than 20 research fields, 35 years nationally and internationally of experience across education, business, community advocacy and politics, and what I have been teaching for more than 20 years is that we are now in the ‘Sustainable Systems’ Era whereby we rediscover a personal purpose and individual accountability contribute to community social, economic and ecological wellness. Recent moves at a national level in Australia by your government appear to support this view.
Purpose of Public Schooling
Purpose: To promote common culture and citizenship
Metaphor: Community Centre serving political and civic needs
View of students: Neophytes- needing to be socialized
View of teachers: Sacred profession- called to service
Purpose: To ‘Australianise’ the immigrant and prepare workers for industrial society
Metaphor: A factory- serving economic needs, assembly line production
View of students: Raw materials- products to be standardized, inspected and controlled
View of teachers: Supervisors, administrators and managers
Purpose: Social reform to meet the needs of all kids
Metaphor: Hospital- for victims of social injustice, meeting cultural and social needs
View of students: Vulnerable- to be protected
View of teachers: Caretakers. District staff diagnose and prescribe. Administrators as chiefs of staff
LIFELONG LEARNING ERA
Purpose: To teach people how to learn and to love learning lifelong
Metaphor: Collaborative learning community engaged with the larger world
View of students: Learners and leaders, creators and problem-solvers
View of teachers: Teachers as facilitators and coaches. Administrators as resource brokers and links to community.
Purpose: Networks-Interconnected and Embedded and Consistent
Metaphor: Spider web
Students: Explorers and constructors of knowledge, both producers and consumers
Teachers: Learners, Coaches and Guides
SUSTAINABLE SYSTEMS ERA
Purpose: Macro and micro-system stewardship of living systems
Metaphor: Natural Gardens, communities.
Students: Leaders responsible for social, ecological, economic and natural capital
Teachers: Multi-locational learning guides, opportunity facilitators, co-learners
(C) Julie Boyd 2000