Friday, February 24, 2012
Time for some new thinking.
This view from space makes it clear the world is an interconnected environment - a world increasingly being placed at risk by politicians who place human greed at the centre.
I am not much involved in day to day working in schools these days and have become more concerned than ever about the direction education is taking - or being taken by the ideology of the current government.
There is no doubt education does need to change to improve the life chances of all students. This however will not be achieved by looking back to the past for answers as with the present governments imposition of simplistic National Standards, nor their relying on privatisation of education through Charter Schools
Currently schools seem to have no choice but to comply with the government's requirements and as a result principals are becoming bogged down with assessing progress ( in narrow range of learning areas) and in proving 'added value' to their political masters. Principals are increasingly being seen as educational accountants not professional leaders.
This is all very sad as what is really required is for schools to evolve a more holistic personalised approach to learning - one that helps all students develop their own unique gifts and talents. The opportunity provide by the 2007 National Curriculum to develop a learning centred style of teaching, in line with the innate learning dispositions of learners, is being unfortunately sidelined. The 2007 curriculum provided a relief from all the strands,level and learning objective nonsense of the earlier technocratic N Z National Curriculum.
Any real change in education will have to wait for new political leadership but so far the Labour Opposition has been silent on the issue of developing a new vision for our country.Let's hope they come up with something better than the failed reactionary ideas of the current government.
Future orientated politicians need to see education as a vital part of developing a new consciousness as current thinking is leading the world into an unsustainable position. Current 'right wing market forces' ideology , with its faith in the 'invisible hand' of the market and the self interest of those who have been successful financially, is running out of ideas. There was never any level 'playing fields' and the 'trickle down' economy was a myth.
Without a change of direction things can only get worse - the rich will get richer and the poor poorer ( creating in the process the so called school 'achievement gap'). .The world is increasingly becoming economically, socially and ecologically unsustainable. We face an unprecedented spectre of global breakdown - economic, social as well as ecological.
As Einstein once said that we cannot solve the significant problems we face at the same level of thinking at which we were when we created the problems yet this is exactly what the current government is doing. Profit and growth at the cost of social stability and environmental despoliation cannot be the answer. The current distribution of wealth is unsustainable. The cult of competition,efficiency and rationality is creating problems that are not easily measured.
A decade into new millennium we can no longer ignore the negative current trends that are building up to a unsustainable scenario.
We need a political party that questions current values and provides the leadership needed to develop a new world view, new values , new aspirations and new priorities to replace current individualistic destructive thinking.
We need a political party that has the courage to lead us into a new sustainable era, one we all can benefit from, not just the rich and powerful
Defining a new direction is a challenging but not an impossible task as increasingly people are becoming disenchanted with current solutions.
Rather than wealth and power for a few we need to create communities we can all feel part of and contribute to; and one based on living in a sustainable environment To do this we need the development of a new creative image of being human - a move towards a caring 'we' rather than a selfish 'me' world.
What is needed is to appreciate the interconnection of all things - an ecological mindset. And this is where education has an important role to play if we are to reject the current materialistic and fragmented concept of the world that had its genesis in the Industrial Age. The new education need to be based on the belief at all students have gifts to develop rather than the current achievement based, sorting out, pass/fail standards ideology that schools are being pushed into.
Schools could lead this new thinking - in the early years this holistic humanist education is already in place but within a few years of current schooling such integrated personalised learning is replaced by a fragmented learning that all but ignores the talents of individual children resulting in too many students leaving with the bitter taste of failure.
Margaret Mead wrote 'never doubt the power of a small group of people to change the world. Nothing else has'.
When people change their consciousness they have the power to do just this.
People are losing faith in the myth of the market.
Victor Havel the then president of Czechoslovakia said , 'Without a global revolution in the sphere of human consciousness nothing will change for the better...and the catastrophe towards which the world is headed - the ecological, social, demographic, or general breakdown of civilisation - will be unavoidable.'
The Green party is well on the way.
The Labour Party has this opportunity to create this new consciousness