Six months ago, I was watching an RSA presentation by Sir Ken Robinson. One aspect particularly caught my attention; this was the idea of an educational ‘Gene Pool’. This fired my thinking; he was right! Our educational system (Regime may be a better description) has a DNA of its very own! Unfortunately that Gene Pool is out of date.
So what is contained in the school ‘Gene Pool’ let’s have a look…
Lining-up, Bells, Lessons, Year groups, Sit still-Be quiet, Mr/Mrs/Sir/Miss, Exercise books, Text books, Underline heading, Stickers, Assembly, Good presentation, Uniform, Corridor etiquette, Hands up, Ability groups, Grades, Exams, Looking = listening, Certificates, Maths is important and art is not, Core subjects get you a good job, Timetable, Bright pupils Or not, Work, You’re academic or not, Whistle = stop, Guess what’s in the teacher’s head etc…
I’m sure you could think of plenty more. The point being, which ones actually add to the learning adventure the pupils should be on? What is the point of bells? Why does presentation have to be ‘neat? Why is art discarded to the lower echelons of curriculum hierarchy?
How does the educational ‘Gene Pool’ relate to the world beyond the school gates. Has education got it right?
We would contend that it hasn’t! The school Gene Pool is too old, outdated and not fit for purpose. Imagine if life beyond the classroom was the same: going to the gym would have to be a P.E lesson (We’d have to stay for an hour as well!); we’d all have to wait for a bell for lunch, who would be in the higher ability ‘surgeons’ group in the local hospital? What would the timetable be when we were on holiday? When would we have the time to record our every move (Neatly of course)? And what would happen to the crowd at the football match when the referee blew the whistle?
Whilst this post is a little tongue-in-cheek, it has a serious message…Children in schools are too often being trained simply to operate within a school, not within a society. The school ‘Gene Pool’ does not reflect the lives children will have!
In Twitter however we have found some hope! Especially the innovative use of ICT (as apposed to it being an extra trimming within a Victorian model) Blended learning, Google Docs, Blog writing, Video and Editing etc offer pupils a link with the ‘real world’ – Why – Because this is the world in which children are growing up. A world where change is continual, where time is irrelevant, technology is king and where learning is accessible at any time in any place! This should be a starting point for a revolution; a new school ‘Gene Pool!’
The Thought Weavers