Featured eedNET school: Bedales

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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).

The Three Dimensions of Student Achievement

This post is by Ron Berger, chief academic officer of Expeditionary Learning.

When a student is finished with school and moves into adult life, she will be judged not by her ability to perform on a test of basic skills, but by the quality of her work and character. This holds true regardless of what career or life role she chooses. Quality work and character are the keys to a successful life. So why are they not the primary focus of schools?

You may argue that schools do focus on these things. But consider this: to get passing grades, students must behave (at least much of the time) and turn in acceptable work (at least much of the time). This is a far cry from instilling in students an ethic of excellence for who they are and what they do. It is almost hard to imagine a lower bar.

Quality work and character have almost nothing to do with how students, teachers, and schools are judged in America. When is the last time you read a headline about a school being “high-achieving” that described the actual quality of work students produced or the quality of their actions? A “high-achieving” student or school means one thing today: good scores on basic skills tests in math and reading.

It’s not that basic skills in reading and math don’t matter. Of course they do. But success in this small realm is just a starting place. If students miss the opportunity to develop high standards for the complex skills they will need in life while they are still in school, how will they develop them?

Read the full article here…

Think Like an Engineer

Think Like an Engineer: Use Systematic Thinking to Solve Everyday Challenges & Unlock the
Inherent Values in The23181200m
by Mushtak Al-Atabi

Engineers conceive, design, implement, and operate (CDIO). ‘Think Like an Engineer’ presents CDIO and systematic thinking as a way to achieve the human potential. It explores how we think, feel and learn, and uses the latest brain research findings to help us unlock value and have a balanced life. The practical, easy to follow exercises given in the book can be used by individuals to improve their thinking and learning and by educators to empower their students to thrive for success.

Link to Amazon

Pathways to Thinking Schools

Based on the successful, proven Thinking Maps model developed by David Hyerle, this book makes a compelling case for making an explicit focus on thinking the foundation for every school. Enabling all students to become drivers of their own thinking and learning, a Thinking School is defined as an educational community in which all members share a common commitment to giving regular, careful thought to everything that takes place including learning how to think reflectively, critically and creatively.

Read the first chapter here : http://www.uk.sagepub.com/booksProdDesc.nav?prodId=Book236707&utm_source=Book&utm_medium=email&utm_content=236707&utm_campaign=PERSONL&priorityCode=PERSONL#tabview=title

 

Teaching Thinking and Dialogue

Blog from : Centre for Teaching Thinking and Dialogue (CTTD) at Exeter University

The Centre offers advice and support for the evaluation of teaching thinking and research on teaching thinking. It incorporates the Cognitive Education Development Unit which offers formal recognition to schools that have embraced the notion of cognitive education and implemented it as a whole school policy.

http://blogs.exeter.ac.uk/teachingthinking/books-by-cttd-members/