I have written about change several times in the past here is another perspective to the same topic. Lately I have been travelling a few cities as part of our annual Mentor Connect program where I share my thoughts based on research to school leaders from that region.
The world around us is changing at a pace that is difficult to comprehend. Change is permeating into our lives seamlessly and we seem to adopt reasonably well in most aspects of our lives. We have accepted the fact that mobile technology has a life of a year and our cars last efficiently for 3 years, we have embraced apps for several areas of our lives and we switch to a better app the moment it appears.
If we look at the relationship of change and education it can be safely said that the rate of change outside the education domain is much faster than the rate of change in education.
There are several examples of disruptive educational ideas that are taking root in different part of the world. The disruption is mainly happening in 3 areas
- Infrastructure: Educators are questioning the very idea of a school building and classrooms. Some schools resemble an office work-space with personalized desks for every child to learn at his own pace and creating entrepreneurs. Some schools are like parks that give children freedom to move around and some are like malls where children choose to walk into any learning space based on their mood.
- Pedagogy: The purpose of education from time in memorial has been to prepare children for life, somewhere in the last few century the primary focus of education shifted to preparing children for a livelihood. This trend is reversing and many new age schools and governments are refocusing their attention to preparing children for life. The focus is more on teaching children the skills to interact with one another, working in teams, solving new problems and empathy to the world they live in.
- Technology: Is a great enabler as it is increasingly making personalized and customized education a reality. Technology and innovation are breaking the boundaries of geography and making education accessible and affordable.
Innovations in the education world are a plenty but they have not managed to make major inroads into schools globally as much as they should, experiments and ideas are not yet mainstream.
The reason for this slow rate of change are many:
- Education policies are framed by governments and by nature they are slow.
- The success of education in the past has been predominantly due to its rigid structure and rigidity. Educators thrive in rigidity because of years of training.
- Parents have a strong opinion on education and their idea of education is outdated.
- Schools do not research and innovate as they wait for innovation to come from the boards and education entrepreneurs.
In spite of all odds I firmly believe that every school and every educator has an opportunity to be a change maker. Schools need to invest time, energy and efforts to think about tomorrow. Most schools are busy solving education problems of today and not giving enough attention to tomorrow. Every school needs to have an Innovation Cell that brings together educators, parents, students, young adults, industry personnel, artists, sportspersons, etc. with a simple agenda – to find new ideas to engage children and prepare them for a future which none of us have any idea!