Advocacy (1)

Thursday, 24 August 2017 11:59

Finding Like Minded when Looking Back

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For more than a decade Sir Ken Robinson has been recognised around the world as a visionary, advocating for creative approaches to learning in an environment that nurtures individual growth.

Reading his books and listening to his inspirational and entertaining talks on YouTube I hear echoes from talks we gave about Chiron College back in the 1970’s in Sydney.

We spoke against the traditional authoritarian system advocating for a new approach that nurtured individual aspirations and self–determination in a learning environment that was part of the real world not an isolated institution within it.

We weren’t alone.

Other innovative schools had started up around the same time. Each were quite unique but with common core values. In 1975 two Teachers College students did an assignment reviewing ‘alternative’ schools. They came to the conclusion that

“In practice, theories of alternative schools seem to work out as a broad basis for learning experiences…A great variety of material is being learnt-dictated by the interests of the students, and including topics taught in traditional style schools. Emphasis is placed on the individual's motivation. Students learn what they want to learn. The aim is to create an open free environment in which continuous learning by all persons involved may take place – open meaning flexible, and free meaning a climate that fosters creativity, spontaneity and a desire for learning. In the alternative school, the aim is not to have children learn what adults tell them, but to help the child to learn how to think for himself.”  read more

During this time the NSW Department of Education became interested in Chiron College because they’d observed that Chiron students who chose to continue their education at tertiary level continued to perform well which wasn’t always the  case with students from traditional schools. Curious to know why Sydney Teachers College sent some trainee teachers to Chiron for their practical sessions.

The Universities in Sydney were also interested and invited us to give talks on innovation in education.

Around Australia there are students, teachers and familes who were involved in alternate, progressive, innovative, experimental , … schools.

Their voices if heard would affirm

that many of the approaches proposed by advocates today



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