Facing Challenges

Facing Challenges (4)

Saturday, 26 August 2017 12:06

Innovation & Leisure Time

Written by

b2ap3 large learningEnviron sm

Innovative schools in Australia over the past century have shared three core values : individual development, an engaging learning environment and mutual respect.

None of these were core values in the schools set up during colonization.

Recognisable traits of what was main core then remain today: levels of learning are fixed by age, content by curriculum, environments to classrooms, and respect by status.

"The history of Australian schooling is a history of social control. From the beginning the purpose of schooling was to control the population. Schooling was never intended to foster the development of individual children." Susan Wight, Read More

and see just how manipulative and disrespectful the system has been!

The Abbott government's stand on education was made clear by it's educational consultant, Kevin Donnelly, a self-proclaaimed innovator, who wrote criticising Australia's educational establishment for being

"committed to progressive fads such as constructivism, open classrooms, inquiry-based learning and teaching generic competences" 

and the then Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, agreed

"the history curriculum is substandard: it emphasises indigenous, Asian and environmental perspectives and it accepts uncritically educational fads including inquiry-based learning, where process takes priority over content."

While the current prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, promotes innovation and opposes over-regulation, we aren’t yet seeing actions with regard to either in Australian schools.

This however doesn't mean that we can't take advantage of the extraordinary opportunities that 21st Century innovation in technology is creating!

We can ourselves set up online learning environments covering many areas of interest; encouraging curiosity and enquiry, creativity and innovation, and individual development in a friendly environment.

We can connect around the world!

Sound like a leisure-time activity or a career opportunity or both?

before you answer

see what Michael Casey has to say about 'The Creative Economy'. Watch Video


Saturday, 26 August 2017 11:40

Enquiry Based Learning

Written by

b2ap3 large EnquiryNew header sm

Former Australia's Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb, presented a plan to the federal government to increase school students' interest in choosing a career in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM). 21st Century industries are already looking more and more for employees with these skills, but there has been a significant decline in the number of students takings these subjects.

"If we've got young people coming through the system who are interested in science, fascinated by science and understand how awesome science can be, then we'll be better off for it," he said.

Some people recommend that Science and Mathematics be made compulsory but Professor Chubb says 'There's not much point making something compulsory if it's not actually attractive. I would much rather make these subjects so compellingly interesting that students want to do them.' Professor Geoff Prince, Director of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute, has made similar comments.

The Federal Government responded promising 12 million dollars for STEM training in schools.

The positive outcome here is that scientific learning i.e. enquiry based learning is recognised as more important than data consumption. As American National Research Council, 1996 aptley put it:

Students at all grade levels and in every domain of science should have the opportunity to use scientific inquiry and develop the ability to think and act in ways associated with inquiry, including asking questions, planning and conducting investigations, using appropriate tools and techniques to gather data, thinking critically and logically about relationships between evidence and explanations, constructing and analyzing alternative explanations, and communicating scientific arguments.

The downside is that techniques for developing critical thinking are not being applied to all subjects. We've been through this before in the 1960s and 70s with the absurd battle between the Sciences and the Arts. I studied both at university back then without needing to develop two different types of thinking!

For some very early samples of products of enquiry based learning read Herodotos' History of the Persian Wars, 5 thCentury BC. History is an ancient Greek word meaning 'learn by enquiry'.

In schools the approach to education is out of date but we wont fix it by doing it piecemeal. It needs a thorough overhaul that embraces learning for living life not just for vocational opportunities which is what the current system is built on.

Friday, 18 August 2017 15:48

Compliance or Engagement

Written by

It is our curiosity that awakens our desire to learn. The desire is the motivation. When nurtured it drives us to engage with others seeking to understand and through that process learn techniques for learning how-to-learn.

The end result builds self confidence, self esteem and the desire to achieve more and the ability to think independently.

In his book DRIVE : The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Daniel Pink identifies 3 elements of the true motivation

  • Autonomy - the desire to direct our own life
  • Mastery - the urge to get better and better at something that matters
  • Purpose - the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves

More positive and lasting outcomes result from ENGAGEMENT.

RSA ANIMATE: Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us

But our system of education valuing conformity and control is holding back the realization of what engages and motivates young people today :  

  • Dropout Rates in Schools & Colleges

More and more young people are becoming disengaged from learning not because of lack of potential but because they find it personally repressive and for the most part irrelevant.

  • Conformity or Individuality

Governments continue to impose the conservative regulations that cause this problem and they do so ignoring the advice from business experts as well as forward thinking educationalists who are saying that education is not providing learning programs in ways that relate to living in today’s world.

  • Examination or Exploration

In developed countries students’ interest in exploration and understanding has diminished . The focus for many has turned to learning only what will be examined. Students need to be engaged in new ways. The new skills required today are better demonstrated through activity and productivity, not by examinations.


Time to develop a New Approach to Education for Young People

Friday, 18 August 2017 13:36

New Skills Now Needed

Written by


What skills do students need to succeed in the 21st Century? 

After extensive consultation with businesses Tony Wagner identified ‘seven survival skills’  to live a productive and quality life :

1. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

To compete in the new global economy, companies need their workers to think about how to continuously improve their products, processes, or services. Over and over, executives told me that the heart of critical thinking and problem solving is the ability to ask the right questions. As one senior executive from Dell said, “Yesterday’s answers won’t solve today’s problems.”

Ellen Kumata, managing partner at Cambria Associates, explained the extraordinary pressures on leaders today. “The challenge is this: How do you do things that haven’t been done before, where you have to rethink or think anew? It’s not incremental improvement any more. The markets are changing too fast.”

2. Collaboration and Leadership

Teamwork is no longer just about working with others in your building. Christie Pedra, CEO of Siemens, explained, “Technology has allowed for virtual teams. We have teams working on major infrastructure projects that are all over the U.S. On other projects, you’re working with people all around the world on solving a software problem. Every week they’re on a variety of conference calls; they’re doing Web casts; they’re doing net meetings.”

Mike Summers, vice president for Global Talent Management at Dell, said that his greatest concern was young people’s lack of leadership skills. “Kids just out of school have an amazing lack of preparedness in general leadership skills and collaborative skills,” he explained. “They lack the ability to influence.”

3. Agility and Adaptability

Clay Parker explained that anyone who works at BOC Edwards today “has to think, be flexible, change, and use a variety of tools to solve new problems. We change what we do all the time. I can guarantee the job I hire someone to do will change or may not exist in the future, so this is why adaptability and learning skills are more important than technical skills.”

4. Initiative and Entrepreneurialism

Mark Chandler, senior vice president and general counsel at Cisco, was one of the strongest proponents of initiative: “I say to my employees, if you try five things and get all five of them right, you may be failing. If you try 10 things, and get eight of them right, you’re a hero. You’ll never be blamed for failing to reach a stretch goal, but you will be blamed for not trying. One of the problems of a large company is risk aversion. Our challenge is how to create an entrepreneurial culture in a larger organization.”

5. Effective Oral and Written Communication

Mike Summers of Dell said, “We are routinely surprised at the difficulty some young people have in communicating: verbal skills, written skills, presentation skills. They have difficulty being clear and concise; it’s hard for them to create focus, energy, and passion around the points they want to make. If you’re talking to an exec, the first thing you’ll get asked if you haven’t made it perfectly clear in the first 60 seconds of your presentation is, ‘What do you want me to take away from this meeting?’ They don’t know how to answer that question.”

Summers and other leaders from various companies were not necessarily complaining about young people’s poor grammar, punctuation, or spelling—the things we spend so much time teaching and testing in our schools. Although writing and speaking correctly are obviously important, the complaints I heard most frequently were about fuzzy thinking and young people not knowing how to write with a real voice.

6. Accessing and Analyzing Information

Employees in the 21st century have to manage an astronomical amount of information daily. As Mike Summers told me, “There is so much information available that it is almost too much, and if people aren’t prepared to process the information effectively it almost freezes them in their steps.”

It’s not only the sheer quantity of information that represents a challenge, but also how rapidly the information is changing. Quick—how many planets are there? In the early 1990s, I heard then–Harvard University president Neil Rudenstine say in a speech that the half-life of knowledge in the humanities is 10 years, and in math and science, it’s only two or three years. I wonder what he would say it is today.

7. Curiosity and Imagination

Mike Summers told me, “People who’ve learned to ask great questions and have learned to be inquisitive are the ones who move the fastest in our environment because they solve the biggest problems in ways that have the most impact on innovation.”

Daniel Pink, the author of A Whole New Mind, observes that with increasing abundance, people want unique products and services: “For businesses it’s no longer enough to create a product that’s reasonably priced and adequately functional. It must also be beautiful, unique, and meaningful.” Pink notes that developing young people’s capacities for imagination, creativity, and empathy will be increasingly important for maintaining the United States’ competitive advantage in the future.

Tony Wagner's Website

Are These Skills Being Learnt in Schools Today ?

© 2017 ChironPlus. All Rights Reserved. Designed By JoomShaper