There are lots of amazing people out there doing the most amazing things to bring about the education revolution every day. I am not going to name names simply because I will offend those I miss out. But there are lots of educators trying to push education beyond the archaic models of desks in rows, lecture theatres, computer suites, worksheets, recall assessment, stand-alone subjects, using technology to mimic what was done with a paper and pen, etc etc etc………. And I am a firm believer that the guerrilla movement must never stop trying to bring about change.
Yet, let’s face it, despite there being lots of educators pushing the boundaries and trying to make fundamental changes to the way education is provided at all levels, for the most part we are a minority and the impact we have had so far is minimal. So, I am asking the question that many are shying away from (and attempting to provide an answer) – What is stopping the Education Revolution?
I think the answer comes from 3 areas and can be represented like this:
Senior Leaders in schools, Assessment requirements and Teacher Training are all preventing the Education Revolution. Admittedly, not all Senior Leaders are included in this. There are some shining lights who break the mould with creative learning spaces, empowerment of students, etc. Likewise there are some courses where assessment requirements that do not hinder the education revolution as they allow the assessment to be integrated as part of the work, reflection/self/peer assessment to be a significant aspect. And there are pockets of teacher training that equips the new generation of teachers with the right mentality and approach to join the guerrilla movement.
On the whole though, leaders in schools are rarely willing to address the complex and long term issues around making wholesale changes within their institutions that will bring about the education revolution to their students. Perhaps in some ways the confines of assessment requirements prevents them from doing so as does a lack of trained teachers who can work with C21 pedagogies.
Two main arguments I hear to my views are that it is curriculum and not assessment that is the issue, the other being that Governments need to make the changes. On the first point, I would say that assessment ultimately drives curriculum. Students and teachers to some extent look to how certain grades can be achieved. Poor assessment methods that focus on mental recall, facts and figures, separate tests after learning has happened do little to promote forward thinking approaches to teaching and learning. Secondly, arguing that it is at a higher level than this, where Governments are actually the ones preventing the Education Revolution is comparable to waiting for them to act on climate change. Political parties will not win votes by proposing radical changes that cost a lot of money in the short term for long term gains when they are likely to be replaced in a few years. Hence, the guerrilla movement has to continue but the key is to step into these 3 key areas in order to make a significant impact on the lack of Education Revolution that has happened so far.