School’s out for ever. Education Tank 05.08.09

The word cloud for the whole debate looks like this (the bigger the word, the more it was used / supported)

In our debate on education we covered the good and the bad of the current system, the values we felt education should have and the ways forward—advice to the education minister. Participants came from USA, South America and Europe; they were about 50/50 teachers and parents. More than 70% think the current system needs a “radical rethink”

Pros and cons of current system

In the opening poll, more than 70% felt that education needed a radical rethink—not just some improvements.

  • The world has changed dramatically and education is pretty much business as usual. Needs major rethink
  • our entire social model requires revamping to take into consideration things like this system, Synthetron

There was not a high level of agreement on current strengths, though winning benefits were social skills, discipline and ability to analyse. Highest ranking concerns were focus on memory not understanding, under-supported teachers and under-involved parents.

  • Students are taught to learn, not to think!
  • Not enough preparations for the teachers
  • not enough discipline at home

The future we want

When we asked What is education FOR?, the strongest statements were very much about the human beings rather than their academic achievements

  • to produce grownups adapted to reality with values
  • to produce well-balanced adults who are confident in their abilities, aware of their limitations, and have a strong trust engagement with friends and community

The strongest supported statement from the whole debate (over 90% support) was on the values we think the education system should live by

  • A real respect for diversity, and values individual achievements at all levels

Other values that rated highly included ethics, integrity, social responsibility, confidence. Academic achievement was barely mentioned during the debate

Action points and advice to the leaders

  • Set an example … by acting like a responsible professional. Never stop learning.
  • teachers need to get training, coaching and other kinds of help to stay on top and be always prepared to deal with new challenges
  • [parents need] to be active in the school where your children are being taught

15 people took part in the discussion including individuals from USA, South America and Europe. They were three times as active as average Synthetron participants and made and ranked 350 statements and ideas between them. They showed an average level of convergence on key points (26% of the statements made became Synthetrons— including all of the statements quoted here)

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