What is the future of education in Australia? Towards the end of 2016 I had the opportunity to see the educational film – Most Likely to Succeed by Greg Whitely. This film has in recent times created quite a lot of interest and discussion on the future of education in America, Australia and around the world.
Personally I believe it to be very thought provoking in that it makes sense that one of the main themes of this film suggests that a review of our education system is needed considering the last major change was way back in the Industrial Revolution in 1893! Don’t you think it is hard to fathom that students today are still learning what was put in place over a century ago?
Shortcomings of the current system
Some of the key areas highlighted as shortcomings of current school models were:
- Technology, the economy, and our understanding of children and learning have all evolved far more than our schools, and it’s time for that to change.
- How it is becoming harder to find jobs at the end of our education system and how the shift în technology is partly to blame where many jobs have or will cease to exist. Entry level jobs used to be plentiful and college was an affordable path to a fulfilling career.
- The current system appears to reflect that of a factory culture particularly with the ongoing use of bells and timetables.
- Standardised testing is out of date – the goal of the current curriculum system is to pass tests whether students are interested or not – it doesn’t teach students about learning, preparing and succeeding later in life.
For me the key takeaways were:
- An education system needs to keep students interested and engaged.
- We need to be looking at what technological skills we will need in the future.
- Students need to be excited about a particular topic or subject and then they are more likely to be interested to learn and remember the information.
- When students study they should have a choice how they do it and what works for them – they shouldn’t have to do it a certain way as they are all different.
- The learning way suggested was a focus more on student centred learning and what they are interested in as opposed to saying they must learn a particular subject.
- Students are more likely to gain a real sense of purpose which is suggested with a new education model.
- The idea is that students learn best by doing, and what they do should be complex, challenging, self-directed (with support), and purposeful.
- It can be really powerful for students to make something during their learning that wasn’t there before or that is new.
- A problem/project-based learning approach that features flexibility and autonomy for both teachers and students, will provide students with skills and mindsets that are more valuable and more effective than are typically fostered in schools today.
- No situation in real life is similar to how one takes a test! So why is the education system using this? We grind out learning in our system and students memorise things that they then forget a short time later.
- It’s a big change for parents to get their heads around though they need to remember that education is and should be different to what they experienced.
A must see
This film is really a must see for anyone with an interest in educations place in society today and our children’s futures. If you get the opportunity I encourage you to take a look for yourself and see what you think!
For a preview of the film click here
The film suggests that teachers, education leaders and policy makers must look at creating new visions of what schools are and what they do. A move towards it being more specialised and more personalised for students can only be a step in the right direction!