Today, in most states of Australia, a number of our youngest students are heading back to school following a very long break. Many students, teachers and parents will be feeling a combination of excitement and anxiety.
Most of us are dealing with the critical question of how we take care of our students in this unfamiliar time, but there are other important questions being asked.
We have been in crisis mode for many weeks now, and in crisis mode survival is triumph. Parents, teachers and departments are looking at our education systems and questioning whether aspects that could so readily be jettisoned really need to be reinstated.
The most obvious of these are the standardised tests that we make students take throughout their schooling. As both parents and educators know, there are no standard children so standard testing is absurd.
One of the best things about being an English teacher is that while you may, in the course of a module, introduce some facts to students, you don’t have to test them. English teaching is about reading and writing and listening and speaking. It is about introducing students to the idea that their normal may not be normal for someone else. It is about encouraging critical thinking, empathy, creativity and tolerance.
On Medium today I came across a post by Steven Hopper from last year. He talks about the importance of ‘soft skills’ and it reminded me that I wrote about just that last year also.
Here is a link to the post that I wrote, and a link to Steven Hopper’s.
As we go about the process of redesigning our education systems, let us keep these conversations alive. Let us gather together the good ideas and discoveries so they don’t get lost in the busyness of a return to school.
We would love to hear your thoughts. If you have a minute, could you share what one super important thing you have learn’t.
Just pop it in the ‘message us’ space on the page and we will collate the ideas and make sure they are shared.