Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Layer 234 . . . . The New Learning Revolution . . . and The Aims of Education

To tie the ideas together from the previous two blogs on the subject of transforming schools, learning and education - I'm going to reiterate what I've written previously about Dryden & Vos's seminal book – The New Learning Revolution.

(See Layer 147 -

Read large sections of it here on Google Books -

The subject matter of this book is new ways to learn, teach, think, create and communicate.

It is now the world’s biggest-selling non-fiction book.

10 million copies of this book have been sold in China alone.

The Chinese government has completely retrained its teaching force in order for them to teach on the basis of these progressive ideas about learning and teaching. This was a massive project, and represents a radical and progressive break with their traditional methods of teaching.

Why do this? Because the Chinese government has understood that learning has to be a dynamic process, driven by the needs and wishes of learners to be responsible for their own learning and to become equipped with creative thinking and communication skills.

This stands in contrast to traditional models of education which are based on the acquisition of a specified body of knowledge and the ability to pass tests on one’s memory of that curriculum.

In a world where information is available day and night from a laptop computer or even a telephone connected to the Internet, why should hundreds of millions of pupils and students be sitting in rows of desks facing their teachers in classrooms designed for a different age?

Very soon it will be possible for all advanced countries to provide every pupil with a cheap laptop computer. In eight or ten years time it will be possible for every pupil to own a pocket computer. Those who don’t possess this technology will be severely disadvantaged.

Traditional schooling is breaking down. In Britain record numbers of pupils are being excluded from school because of their undisciplined behaviour. Frankly, many of them are bored and cannot see the point in doing what schools are asking them to do.

Not only are many teachers and schools offering no intellectual stimulation, they are also failing to provide learning in social, emotional and spiritual intelligence.

In the foreword of this book Christopher Ball, the chairman of Britain’s ‘Campaign for Learning’, says, ‘This book explains what is going on in the gradual collapse of the old model of education, and the advent of the revolutionary new models of learning’.

He goes on to say, “The old school model is as dead as the industrial revolution that spawned it. The flight of both pupils and teachers from traditional schooling will soon become an embarrassment for governments in developed countries. Neither the curriculum (what is taught) nor the pedagogy (how it is taught) is any longer sustainable.”

“What lies at the heart of this book is a shift of focus from teaching to learning, and a recognition that a new philosophy of learning must lead the curriculum.”

In the 21st Century “the rewards of the good life will go to those who are most adaptable - who learn best. They will also go to those who learn to use and share the new world of interactive technology, instant communication, collaborative innovation and multimedia creativity.”

To that list I would add that the rewards will also go to those who learn to become emotionally, socially, instinctually, intellectually, physically and spiritually intelligent.

These are the clear goals of progressive education - an education that is needed for the 21st Century.

These are the goals we must reach if we are to become “a more creative, cooperative, sharing world society”. These are the true aims of education.


Here's another page worth checking out -

Pupils under too much pressure to go to university say teachers

There is too much pressure placed on young pupils to head for university, teachers believe, and conversely, too little connection between schools and local businesses.

According to a new study from independent education foundation, Edge, two thirds of teachers think there is too much emphasis on pupils getting a degree at a traditional university while over a third (39%) of teachers feel their institutions still offer too little practical and vocational learning. Involvement with local businesses is seen as widely insufficient with fifty-nine per cent stating that their school or college does not offer enough opportunity for students to learn with local companies.
The study was conducted among over 1,000 teachers and FE lecturers in the state and independent sectors. Exploring their views on the current education system, it shows widespread teacher support for a greater emphasis on practical and vocational pathways – and broad agreement that these routes help pupils to succeed.
Andy Powell, Chief Executive of Edge said: “Teachers know large parts of the system are too academically biased, they recognise a balanced approach is better and they are tellingly concerned that local businesses have insufficient involvement in pupils’ learning in schools.
“We support the teachers’ views. There are many paths to success and we need a richer education with more real-world learning opportunities for young people. Change is beginning to happen, but things are moving too slowly. This generation will be working in a global economy and will have to deal with extraordinary challenges – we have to ensure they are properly equipped.”
The majority of teachers (59%) believe practical and vocational learning often leads to a good career, but they also recognise their knowledge of the qualifications available falls short when compared to their understanding of academic routes.
Edge is inviting the public at large and teachers to have their say on the education system and will feedback findings to politicians of the three main parties prior to the general election. Teachers can join the debate at

The research was conducted online by YouGov between 2nd-8th October 2009. Respondents were drawn from state secondary schools (712), independent schools (105) and sixth form/FE/tertiary education environments (131), making a total sample of 1,034.

 How would you change the education system?

Help revolutionise education now.

Venice hit by high water

Flood waters engulfed the lagoon city of Venice leaving close to 45% of the historical centre under water

 Saw this on the Guardian website – amazing pictures of Venice under water.


Disturbing reports about the national health service -

The worst NHS wards ... where safety is a lottery


Desert Island Discs – Morrisey

For those who didn't know that DID is now available on iPlayer and podcast – wake up!

This piece from the Guardian about the Morrisey programme is less interesting than the comments afterwards on CiF -

Morrissey: This charming Man Friday


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