Born to learn is a fun, thought-provoking series of animations that illustrate ground-breaking new discoveries about how humans learn.
Shortly before last year’s General Election in England the Initiative sent a Briefing Paper on the design faults at the heart of English education to all M.Ps. This is well worth revisiting. It stated,
The basic function of education in all societies and at all times is to prepare the younger generation for the kind of adult life which that society values, and wishes to perpetuate. Those values change over time so that the present structure of English education is a result of numerous decisions taken in times past by educationalists and politicians as they reacted to social and economic environments very different to today.
The Paper urged Members to consider the ages-old tension between nature (what we are born with) and nurture (being the way our surroundings influence the way we grow up). It asks: Does contemporary educational policy simply react to symptoms, whist failing to address underlying design faults? If the answer is ‘yes,’ how can future policy avoid such faults and build its programmes on firmer foundations? Unravelling the relationship with nature to nurture, and then coming to terms with those misunderstandings from the past that colour contemporary judgements, is not easy. Yet to fail to do this is to undermine new policies, and perpetuate underperformance.
The Paper asked Members a number of apparently simple questions:
Simple as such questions may appear, the explanations are far from obvious. They epitomise the deep dissatisfaction with English education that has existed for generations.
Only by carefully analysing where any country’s education system has come from can any government propose a strategy that differentiates between short-term panaceas to deal with urgent problems, and the much longer term structural changes needed to build up whole generations of young people who know how to learn, who can communicate, collaborate, think for themselves and make decisions. Only in this way will England, as the case in point, so strengthen the younger generation that they will have the energy and the wisdom to revitalise civil society.
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