Education/Society ~ the chicken and egg conundrum

As a group drawing on the wide range of experiences from our visit to Kerala we identified the following challenges.  We feel that these challenges are important to teachers in the context of the new Key Stage 3 Curriculum.  They are about the relationship between education and society.

Notion of 'what is a learning space?'

  • Does it have to be a conventional classroom confined to a school environment?
  • Building schools for the future – have they taken into account / consideration non-conventional learning spaces?
  • Does it rely on the teacher practitioner managing that space?

Should schools be community hubs?

  • Can schools offer life-long learning for ‘whole’ community strands?
  • What is the school’s role?
  • Should schools be responsible for the communities they serve?

Competition between schools & community

  • Contrasting priorities – good results vs community needs and wants
  • What are the common goals?

Route-ways and diversity

  • Who should be involved in the debate for route options?
  • Who gets to choose the routes that pupils take?
  • Are the route-ways broad enough and flexible enough?

Representations in Media

  • We need to have the skills to interrogate and deconstruct the Media messages that we encounter. What is the effect on us?
  • What agency do we have, and how do we contribute to the messages of the Media?.

Content: who decides?

  • In Kerala the community are engaged in content development. A curriculum fit for a purpose?
  • How do we decide what education’s aims are?
  • Does consultation and participation in this process bring a real sense of ownership?

Different values within groups of society & different generations

  • We need to think about what we mean by community and what our local communities mean by this; how do they define their community?
  • What is the purpose of community?
  • What is the purpose of education for/to that community?

Economic priorities for individuals, for schools, and at all scales (local, national, global)

  • Should these be part of the educational debate?
  • Should industry play a role in deciding the shape of the curriculum?
  • Government priorities – where are the ‘pots’ of funding being directed?

Skills vs knowledge: what is learning?

  • Processes of learning are rich in themselves, as are the relationships formed between participants and facilitator. The passion and enthusiasm of a teacher can bring wealth to any learning. How do we balance this with subject content?
  • How can we use knowledge both rigorously and flexibly?
  • Should we be striving for more appropriate knowledge? Appropriacy can be fluid…

In discussing this relationship in Kerala, we found the triad of Curriculum, Campus and Community useful to help focus our ideas, and have chosen to organise the challenges using this framework. We have ordered our ideas from 1-9 as below, showing where we think the responsiblity of the challenge lies, but there was some debate about this, and another group might see these challenges differently, when relating them to the three Cs.

      CAMPUS (School)

COMMUNITY (Society)              CURRICULUM (Education)