Preview of article published in The Times Educational Supplement by Al McConville (Deputy Head Academic, Bedales) on the purpose of education…
“The way we define education is deeply flawed. Childhood is not a commodity to be invested in an unspecified future….We have to view students as fully fledged people with a rich range of potential, not just future economic players.”
“Nearly everything about our school system was developed to support the ideals of the industrial workplace…What it did not require was individuals who could think for themselves. It was not always so. The three Rs, which became and have remained the cornerstone of educational policy, were in pre-Victorian times not reading, writing and arithmetic but reading, wroughting and arithmetic…The value of art, craft and creativity was downgraded to develop bureaucracies around mechanised processes.”
Quoting expansively Charles Darwin, Nick Carraway (The Great Gatsby), Aristotle, philosopher Josef Pieper, Plato, poet and theorist Matthew Arnold, Sir Ken Robinson, John Cridland (Confederation of British Industry), the Warwick Commission, and Bill Lucas (champion of ‘Expansive Education’), Al describes a curriculum that has shifted in focus to an increasingly tight core, dominated by the outcomes of an ever narrower assessment regime. He suggests society should seize the opportunity of a new term of government to ask ourselves if this is what we want, and if not, what education should really be for.
The full article can be seen in the TES (8/5/15, pages 24-28) or online (subscription required).