Below is the response I provided to a survey question posted by the BC Ministry of Education in concert with it’s new initiative, the “BC Education Plan”.
What do you think is important for our education system in the future?
As a 24-year innovative educator and administrator, I agree much of our present system of conventional schooling remains mired in outmoded practices. These practices themselves are grounded in previously held assumptions about learning and human development. In light of a veritable explosion in the past 15-20 years of new knowledge about human learning and development from neurobiology, cognitive sciences, positive psychology, multiple intelligences, holistic learning and other domains, it’s crystal clear these previous assumptions no longer serve progressive educational goals, like those minted in the new BCEP.
So, for any future-oriented, progressive education program (on any scale) to have a snowball’s chance of succeeding, it’s vital that the key agents of learning – kids, parents, teachers, mentors and administrators – have a thorough grounding in these new assumptions. Without such an orientation on the part of the latter four agents I list, future learning will just continue to mirror the past. In other words you can’t get “there” from “here”. And this is not theoretical posturing; today, professional therapists and coaches, to cite two examples, are years ahead of conventional schooling, in practice, based on new knowledge they have incorporated. And their results are significantly different.
Of the agents I list above, teachers and administrators will need the most support to help make such change possible. And this will need to be a coordinated effort that doesn’t make the same mis-steps as the rollout for the much-vaunted and then-maligned Year 2000 Plan, from the early 1990s! Yes, those mis-steps should be re-visited, because the goals of the BCEP bear much resemblance to the goals of the Y2K plan unveiled by the Socred government of the day, on the recommendations of BC’s last Royal Commission on Education in 1987. In 1994 the Y2K was defeated politically and scrapped, with most eulogizing suggesting the Y2K plan was ill-conceived and unnecessary.
That was then. Now is 17 years later and conventional education – today needing to serve learners of all ages – simply must adapt or risk becoming totally obsolete and an irrelevant experience for those it purports to serve.
In closing, I find much to like in the newly-minted ‘BCEP’ as I admired the Y2K plan. For the BCEP to succeed, however, requires we collaborate in creating a much different outcome than the last time we went through this.
– Michael Maser; SelfDesign Learning (BC Independent School)
For information on my new book: Learn Your Way! SelfDesigning the Life You Really Want, Starting Now and to order a copy, go here.