This is a link to a recent article by Richard Dunne, Head of Ashley School, for the Learning for Well-being magazine.
This is how Richard’s article begins:
“If we are to take seriously the idea of a sustainable future, then the current education system is not fit for purpose. This is not to decry the need for high standards and rigour in education. Rather it is a call to re-contextualize learning, to join it up around project-based enquiries that provide students with a much more holistic view of how the world works and their part in it.
At its simplest level, if we are to learn about a particular historical period, it makes sense to look, too, at the architecture, the artists, the writers and philosophers, the music and the culture of that time. More than that, we can then ask what it is that this particular period in history teaches us. What is its relevance to today and how might these past practices inform our thinking into the future?
Food is fundamental to a good education. If we are what we eat, then we surely need to consider what we eat. And yet, very often, there is very little reference at school to the food that is served on our plate. It is detached from the story of how it was produced and the journey of where it came from, stories and journeys that are rich in learning opportunities and full of ethical dilemmas.
And it ends like this:
“Right now, education needs a new story. We know that there will always be some kind of measure to learning, but if this becomes the dominant model for how we educate, and subjects are taught with no sense of cohesion in how they are planned and delivered, then learning will remain piecemeal and often of little relevance to young people.
Instead, we need to find ways to bring learning together around purposeful projects and give students a lead role in showcasing the outcomes of their research and the issues they want to highlight through this process. This may not be possible with the pressures of a GCSE syllabus, but from Early Years right through until the end of Key Stage 3, when students are 14-years old, it is certainly achievable with some creative thinking and a will to make it happen.
The more this approach can be trialled and developed, the more we can shift education to a better place. This is beginning to happen in a small, but growing number of schools. A new story is being told. It is a story of hope, of meaning, of relevance and purpose. And the best bit of all is that the narrators of the story are the students themselves, students who are learning how to live in harmony.”