Chris Pyne on education.

While I am not a fan of politics (at all), I do have a view on education (as I work in the field) and I think the views of the minister for education are a little naive;

Chris Pyne in the Sydney Morning Herald

Well my knee-jerk reaction to that is “Just because we don’t teach them about climate change/ invasion/ refugees/ war/ genocide doesn’t mean it won’t happen to them.”

I think that he has failed to understand that today’s children are born into a digital world, connected by an electronic umbilicus to the rest of their species (if not the natural world) and the main reason adults are failing to educate them is that we are educating them to survive in a world which does not exist any more. For example, the resistance to ‘text language’ (which I don’t like myself); kids use and speak this language daily, yet we insist it is wrong and they must learn ‘proper’ language. Isn’t the point of language to communicate? Maybe the real issue is that we (the older, 0.1 version of the species) are afraid of the speed at which the language is changing and fear we won’t be able to keep up.

While I agree that literacy and numeracy form the solid base on which education is built, what it means to be literate and numerate has changed and continues to change at an ever increasing rate. Today’s students are generally more technologically able than their teachers (I often ask a passing ten year old which button to press) and are able to access the entire knowledge of humanity at the click of a button (sometimes as many as three clicks, if it’s a difficult question). Old style teaching (chalk, board and the contents of one person’s head) seems a little irrelevant in the face of that ability.

I don’t see going backwards in teaching style as the answer, nor is trying to hold them back with us. Let’s accept that the skill base our children need to take them into adulthood is very different from the one we needed. Let them run (educationally) and we will follow as fast as we can; it’s the only way to educate minds that have escaped the prison of a single skull.

2 thoughts on “Chris Pyne on education.

  1. Christopher Pyne has no idea. It's interesting that I re-read this post days after he announces that the Coalition is dropping its support for Gonski. Incompetent government that wants to send Australia back to some weird place in the past.


  2. A weird place in the past that never existed.
    The subjects and skills we test now have little to do with the world these kids will live in; testing a child's skill at writing a story by limiting the media to paper and pencil is irrelevant when the same child writes a funny and informative narrative using photos, words and animation every day on facebook. It's like scoring children on fire starting by handing them two pieces of stick and a handful of straw when she has a box of matches in her pocket.

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