In a world increasingly insistent on change, Action on Education is campaigning for a better, bolder, brighter future for childhood education and for new and improved children's educational rights.
Education could be the most enjoyable experience of a lifetime, it could be fun, empowering, nurturing of good relationships and promoting of individual autonomy; it could and should provide the foundation of an engaged, fulfilling and happy life. But far too often, failures in our structures of education foster alienation, frustration, enmity and disengagement. Many of us would go so far as to say that our school systems continue to reflect oppressive injustices that should long have been part of our past.
There is much we can do to improve schools for everyone's benefit. What is lacking, is the political will to do so. So let's apply pressure and make sure positive change happens.
It is nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry.
~ Albert Einstein
You can click on any of the quotes on this website to read more of what our greatest minds thought about the way we school children.
Now imagine, when children go to school, they don't just get a seat in a classroom and a teacher to teach them what they are taught, when they are taught it, rather they enter upon a vast educational landscape, comprising learning opportunities from all levels of study, they are given the tools to navigate that landscape, to explore and discover, to take ownership of thier experience, to know the level at which they are studying, territory explored/unexplored and challenges related to those already undertaken. Imagine them being able to build the skills of self-ownership, to have passion for their own learning, to set goals based firmly on their own needs and interests and have a record of progress that allows all those involved in their care to better understand their personality and experience.
Equipping schools to deliver education in a way that is progressive and supports children's fullest development is more than just common sense - or common decency. Failing children in schools bears a tremendous cost on us all; it attacks the very foundations of personality, family, employment, civic engagement and all other institutions and relations of society. There cannot be a part of our lives that is not negatively impacted by it. Education, then, is a fundamental responsibility, both to child and society. But it is also an incredible opportunity.
Children Must Have:
Access to a body of high-quality, integrated and easily navigable educational content which is expansive enough to meet their highest aspirations.
Tools which offer an overview of, and act as a map for, the entire education experience.
The opportunity, throughout school, to look outwards at the professional world, in order to better understand their subjects, to better understand their opportunities for working life and to better convey their needs, interest and their own expectations of schooling.
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If we can care enough to build it, children - and all those who love and care for them - can have extraordinary tools for engaging with a transformed, modern educational experience. Children can have access to almost limitless learning opportunities in a way that facilitates family involvement and reduces or eliminates obstacles children face in communicating their experiences, needs and achievements to the outside world.
We can overcome the present day overemphasis on conformity and impersonality that we all - both providers and receivers of education - so strongly object to. We can overcome the sheer impossibilty of the responsibilities placed on teachers to be the sole source and/or director of learning for all children in their charge. We can allow children to enjoy a wider, more personal experience of education and link that experience in a much more meaningful way to the world beyond schooling to which they aspire.
Growth and mastery come only to those who vigorously self-direct. Initiating, creating, doing, reflecting, freely associating, enjoying privacy - these are precisely what the structures of schooling are set up to prevent.
~John Taylor Gatto
Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.
If We Can Succeed
Children will have the tools to take ownership of their experience, develop goals and interests around their passions, challenge outdated constraints and stereotypes and secure outcomes based on their abilities, rather than their demographic background.
Teachers will face many more choices over how to organise classwork between individual, group and class activities and will have the tools to support children through much more meaningful individualized learning and development aims.
A school's curriculum will play a much more positive role, serving as a well-trodden pathway within a wider landscape, rather than the narrow confines of old.
These are the bases of renewed relationships between children and their teachers, their families, their communities and even the world as a whole.