Fundació Jaume BofillUniversitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC)

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We are celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Debats d’Educació by giving the educational community the opportunity to air its views

Richard Gerver
Richard Gerver
A former award winning Headteacher (Great Britain) and expert on leadership, creativity and organizational change

A former award winning Headteacher, leading a failing school to becoming one of the most innovative in the world; Richard now works as a bestselling author and internationally renowned speaker, exploring issues of education, leadership and change.

The three things I’ve learned

Education must be a celebration of life that is both impassioned and motivating
1

Education must be a celebration of living life

Our primary responsibility as educators is to prepare our children for their future; therefore education must meet their needs first. We must spend more time understanding the future and less time looking to the past. The traditional system is built on preparing students for certain futures. This is no longer the case; in a post Industrial Age we must design a system based on empowerment not control. To do this we as educators, as politicians must be the ones who step outside of our comfort zones and make sure that we design systems based on need not ideology; based on skills and competencies. We must ensure that primarily, the system explores the incredible potential of each child individually and helps them to see their own place in a complex and ever shifting future. The Chinese government recently stated that in order to create a sustainable future, China must discover and nurture the next generation of Steve Jobs; not a bad vision.

2

We must nurture the power of real learning

For too many of our students, education is nothing more than a never ending preparation to take exams, split into different subjects; mathematics, literacy etc. and taught in a way that is abstract to everything except the system itself. Too many of us become fatigued by the abstract nature of our schooling and the oppressive culture of testing. Education is an amazing gift; the most powerful that any civilised society can bestow upon its young people, it doesn't feel like it though. I worry that to most young people, school feels like nothing more than a processing factory where we tell them, that education is like purgatory; somewhere they must pass through before they become adults and therefore, real, valued citizens. It was John Holt who once remarked that education was like learning to play the cello, years of saying that you were learning to play, always wondering when it was ok to say that you were actually playing the cello. We must make learning matter for the now.

3

Education must be fun!

Education must be a celebration of life, an exploration of potential and a joy to experience. Of course it is important; vital, to our children's futures and indeed to our own legacy. The world is facing massive challenges, challenges too often, of our own making; unsustainable economies, environmental disaster and increasing levels of socio ethnic conflict. That is the legacy we are leaving our children; its not very optimistic, yet education must be, it must be a celebration of what can be achieved, discovered and created. It must be filled with awe, wonder and opportunity and with teachers passionate about teaching and learning. The greatest classrooms are filled with joy and laughter; they are places where kids are relaxed and want to learn because teachers are relaxed and love teaching. The challenges are tough but school shouldn't be attritional, it should be motivational. Only a generation relaxed enough to be themselves and confident enough to challenge convention, to take on risks and to dare to be different will find the solutions to a positive pathway into to 22nd Century.

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