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NLS - Nordiska Lärarorganisationers Samråd Möte i Reykjavík 28.-29. September 2011 The future of education speculating about the next 25-30 years 2010-2040.

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Presentation on theme: "NLS - Nordiska Lärarorganisationers Samråd Möte i Reykjavík 28.-29. September 2011 The future of education speculating about the next 25-30 years 2010-2040."— Presentation transcript:

1 NLS - Nordiska Lärarorganisationers Samråd Möte i Reykjavík September 2011 The future of education speculating about the next years Jón Torfi Jónasson School of Education University of Iceland, NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

2 Some background The background to this speculation: A forecast about the education of the future, written in on education in Iceland Jón Torfi Jónasson. (1990). Menntun á Íslandi í 25 ár, Reykjavík: Framkvæmdanefnd um framtíðarkönnun. [143 síður] Education vs. systems of education, the internal issues of schools and curriculum – The basic school system, pre-primary, primary, secondary and tertiary and of course life- long learning Judgement about our current schools and school system ? No. NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

3 Topics for discussion I.Predicting the future of education, (based on inertia?) II.Is there an argument for a proactive or a visionary vision of the future?Yes III.The form of the education for the future: a school? IV.Food for thought NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

4 What does the system look like? Might we change something? NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

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6 The future I.Prediction for the future; future studies, the cliché (it is difficult to predict, especially.... ) II.Several kinds of predictions, mention two I.A laissez fair (no intervention) prediction, a prediction based on various forms of inertia where traditional norms and values are in control; the type of prediction I made earlier and should probably make again. II.A proactive or visionary prediction. III.Education must think about the future, understand it and anticipate, and not just wait for it to happen. NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

7 But is it really possible to predict? Yes and no, but in important arenas yes; take some examples All are examples of exponential growth (Albert Bartlett)Albert Bartlett I also ask, by the way, who in the system are monitoring these changes and suggesting action? I.The increase in the number of students in higher education in Iceland (US, Japan, the Nordic countries); we know this but not necessarily what they choose. II.Use of mineral deposits, (but not necessarily their price) III.The development of computer calculating power, viz. Moores law, (but not how it may be utilised). Most of this is robustly regular, not only over 25 years but probably 125 years and the growth could have been accurately predicted. We know a lot about the future. We should not pretend that we dont. NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

8 Higher education: enrolment in Iceland

9 NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011 Higher education: enrolment in Iceland

10 NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011 Higher education: enrolment in the US

11 NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011 Higher education: enrolment in the US

12 NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011 Higher education: enrolment in the US

13 Eternal exponetial growth? From Kristín Vala and Harald Sverdrup NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

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16 The inertia prediction Educational systems evolve notoriously slowly; their history manifests this very clearly; this applies to their form, operation and content. The concerns, criticisms and visions of those concerned with education at the beginning of the 20 th century were more or less the same as of those expressing themselves at the beginning of the 21 st. (Chapter 9 in Reidar Myhres Grunnlinjer i pedagogikkens historie is a must in this context). NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

17 Why inertia? There are a number of important reasons. Traditions and traditional values keep education in the throes of old time. The traditions are strong and so are the forces of inertia which stem from many sources. They relate to old values, old content and old ways of doing things. Of course some old values should be cherished, but which. NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

18 Why inertia? There are a number of important reasons. Reason no. 1 A conservative discourse and ideas of many outside the educational system who naturally control the course of its development. I am here referring to the views of many parents and politicians; somewhat conservative impetus from industry that the education system serve the economy (yes, but how is that best done ?); teacher education, its content and organisation – related inter alia to the time since a lot of the teaching force graduated; conservative ideas proposed by the university as a European institution about the education of young people and generally outdated notions about content and how new techniques, new content and new cultures could permeate education. As an agent in this would be some well established standardised tests, which volunteer to gracefully take the central stage, marginalising other contenders. NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

19 Why inertia? There are a number of important reasons. Reason no. 2 The new ideas that are to replace the old, are often woolly or cloudy, not well moulded and sometimes even vacuous. Some might even not be very good! This applies inter alia to some new ideas that were proposed during the 20 th century, e.g. applied to discovery or project learning, ideas fostering creativity, arts or moral values; this also applies to some of the 21 st century skills programmes which have been proposed repeatedly for the last years. This will probably also apply to the new basic factors in the new Icelandic curriculum and the EC eight key competencies. This could even become a stumbling block for the Icelandic programme. NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

20 Why inertia? There are a number of important reasons. Reason no. 3 One reason why the push to introduce new ideas is somewhat undermined is that the rationale, the utility and ambition behind the introduction of the present ideas some time ago, were all convincing and credible, even though it took a long time for them to win their place. The proponents of those ideas may still be operative and still think the ideas they adopted or fought for or introduced stand the test of time. This is partly a problem that may be traced to the older (my) generation but may also influence the judgement of those outstanding young people who did so well with the content and operations of the traditional environment. NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

21 Why inertia? There are a number of important reasons. Reason no. 4 Nothing dramatic happens if we don't exchange new ideas for old ones. In fact nothing happens. This is the fourth reason why it is somewhat cumbersome to secure the place for new ideas replacing old well established and tested ones. The only ensuing problem is that young people are not given the opportunities to do a variety of interesting things, that new ideas, new technologies or new cultures might afford them; but of course they will survive nevertheless. NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

22 Why inertia? There are a number of important reasons. Reason no. 5 It is especially important for those who want to argue for replacing new with old that one may seriously threaten a variety of vested interests and ideals of those who are already there. This may operate at several levels and perhaps present the most formidable obstacles. NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

23 Why inertia? There are a number of important reasons. Reason no. 6 The sixth reason why new ideas don't emerge is that very few people who are engaged in education have the overview or wide perspective over all the different reasons for change. Very few have the responsibility or opportunity to follow the many quite substantial changes in the social and technological and cultural environment and speculate about the possible educational implications. The perspective we, in the educational arena, have is often very narrow, far too narrow. NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011 Thus I have presented a number of reasons why a prediction involving rather modest but gradual development of education is probably reasonable.

24 But what about a prediction based on a proactive action? The history of education tells countless stories about ambitious and well thought out successful attempts at recreating the content and practice of education. But somehow the fate of these enterprises has been somewhat less promising than expected. Nevertheless it is surprisingly long since the last major effort was made to reconstitute the curriculum and practice of education generally. To me this is astounding. Perhaps the last efforts frighten. Thus the question is, should a serious attempt be made to totally renovate the curriculum? Consider some of the reasons why a positive answer might be given. I think that the Icelandic government is in fact taking some important steps in the right direction. NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

25 I will mention 10 reasons why a positive answer may be in order Each deserves a serious in depth discussion, but here we only have time just to mention each of them. Some of these arguments on their own might be deemed to be a sufficient cause for rethinking; but I think all of them taken together present quite a powerful case. But, who are making the case within the field of education? What vision and overview do they have? Three are local reasons, but perhaps also global ones, but the last seven are definitely global reasons. NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

26 Why should we? Local rationale I.Icelandic laws on education call for this. II.The discourse in Iceland in the past few years indicates that our education system is not doing nearly enough in the ethical arena. III.The changes in Icelandic economy calls for a discussion of the role of the education system, not only to respond to the labour market but to have a proactive influence. Education could play an active role rather than the thoroughly passive one it is accustomed to. NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

27 The Compulsory School Act No. 91, 12 June 2008 Article 2, Objective The role of the compulsory school, in cooperation with the home, is to encourage pupils general development and prepare them for active participation in a democratic society that is continuously developing. Compulsory school practice and methods shall be characterised by tolerance and affection, Christian heritage of Icelandic culture, equality, democratic cooperation, responsibility, concern, forgiveness and respect for human values. The compulsory school shall endeavour to organise its activities to correspond fully with the position and needs of their pupils and encourage the overall development, well-being and education of each individual. The compulsory school shall encourage broadmindedness in its pupils, strengthen their skills in the Icelandic language and their understanding of Icelandic society, its history and characteristics, of peoples living conditions and the individuals duties to the community, the environment and to the world. Pupils shall be provided with the opportunity to develop and use their creativity and to acquire knowledge and skills in their strive towards education and development. School activities shall lay the foundations for pupils autonomy, initiative and independent thinking and train their cooperation skills. The compulsory school shall encourage good cooperation between the school and the home, with the objective of ensuring successful school operation, general welfare and safety for pupils. NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

28 The Compulsory School Act No. 91, 12 June 2008 Article 24, National Curriculum Guide The Minister of Education, Science and Culture issues a National Curriculum Guide for Compulsory Schools, which shall be revised on regular basis. It shall stipulate e.g. the compulsory schools pedagogical role and general policy in teaching and instructional organisation according to the role of the compulsory school cf. Article 2. The National Curriculum Guide shall among other things emphasise the following: 1. Self consciousness, personal awareness, ethical consciousness, social awareness and pupils awareness of their civil responsibilities and duties 2. Physical and mental well-being, healthy lifestyle and responsible approach towards living beings and the environment, 3. Training pupils in using the Icelandic language in all studies, 4. Dramatic and artistic expression 5. The ability of pupils to understand causal relationships and to draw logical conclusions 6. Understanding of vital and creative activities, innovation and entrepreneurial studies 7. Balance between academic and practical studies 8. Utilising childrens play as means of learning and development NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

29 The Compulsory School Act No. 91, 12 June 2008 Article 24, National Curriculum Guide (cont.) 9. Studies which will be of advantage to pupils in their daily life as well as in further studies and future employment 10. Preparing both sexes equally for active participation in society, family life and employment 11. A variety of means to acquire knowledge, through the use of technological media, information and communication technology, school resource centres and written sources 12. Education and career guidance and counselling, information about occupations and employment, available courses of study in preparing for future studies or employment In devising the National Curriculum Guide, in the organisation of study and instruction and in producing and selecting study material, special effort shall be made to ensure that all pupils have equal study opportunities and a chance to select subjects and learning approaches in their own education. The objectives and practice of study and instruction shall aim at preventing discrimination on the basis of origin, gender, sexual orientation, residence, social class, religion, health condition, handicap or situation in general. All school activities shall encourage a healthy lifestyle and take into account the variation of personality, development, talent, abilities and interests of each individual pupil. NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

30 The Compulsory School Act No. 91, 12 June 2008 Article 25, Objectives of study The National Curriculum Guide shall lay down the main objectives of study and instruction, the structure and organisation of study, as well as division of time between instruction in different subjects and subject areas in the compulsory school. Effort shall be made to ensure as much cohesion of studies as possible, but each compulsory school determines if particular subjects shall be taught in a separate or integrated way. The National Curriculum Guide shall define required learning outcomes within each subject area. Pupils shall have the possibility to fulfil the learning outcomes of particular subjects and subject areas in various ways. The National Curriculum Guide shall define learning outcomes and requirements for pupils to finish individual subjects or subject areas. It shall also define requirements for pupils that finish compulsory school in less than 10 years. The National Curriculum Guide shall outline the cooperation between compulsory school and preschool on the one hand and compulsory school and upper secondary school on the other hand and how to arrange efficient transfer and adaptation between school levels. The National Curriculum Guide shall stipulate the content and organisation of study in the following fields: Icelandic or Icelandic as second language or Icelandic sign language, mathematics, English, Danish or other Nordic languages, arts and crafts, natural sciences, physical education, social sciences, equal rights affairs, religious studies, life skills and information and communication technology. NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

31 An attempt at a visual presentation of the issues in the Icelandic law on compulsory education NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011 The objective of education The national curriculum guide The objective of study

32 Why should we? Global rationale IV.Global changes in both the local and global labour markets, both cultural and technical within the jobs themselves, but also mobility issues. Jobs change fast, people move fast within a particular labour market; the situation in many sectors is already very different from what was the case only 10 years ago. V.The overuse of the worlds resources and the general claim for a self sustainable local and global economy and culture. Self sustainability, use of resources and energy production see e.g. UNESCOs Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future. Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future IV.The fast development of scientific and technological knowledge calls for a thorough revision of curriculum in a number of fields but probably even for totally new subjects for study. The doubling time in some fields is down to two years, but even if it is 5-10 years this is very fast. This should be taken into account. NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

33 Why should we? Global rationale VII.Technological development allows for dramatic changes in a whole spectrum of tasks. In the computer field the doubling time is around 2-3 years. All kinds of tools for designing, writing, calculating etc. etc. will be used. Many tasks of today are already obsolete. Assume our kids will use these tools. VIII.The communication technology similarly calls for important changes. Whether it is the environment afforded by Web 2.0 or Web 3.0 (semantic web), 4.0 (symbiotic web) we may anticipate important changes. The recent development of GSM, tablets etc. underlines that much of the technology the children use today will soon become obsolete; but some of ours schools still operate as if not even these instruments are there as normal tools of their lives. NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

34 Skills that probably should play a central role in our curriculum; not a marginal role as some people think. New skills, 21st century skills NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

35 Why should we? Global rationale IX.The demand for new skills for our new economy. This is a discussion that has got furthest but perhaps has made least headway. Now there are easily 20, 25 years since this claim started to emerge (forgetting Dewey in the 1910s). The call was for new skills, but the matters has not had much success. In Iceland it is therefore interesting to follow the fate of the new key factors introduced by the ministry in its national curriculum guide. X.Substantial research on education, teaching and schooling affords a lot of suggestions for change to our educational practices. Thousands of research papers are published on every aspect of educational practice. But it is very unclear what impact it has on education; in fact the channels for the interaction between the two are not very wide. But a lost of suggestions for change exist. But research may sometimes only inspire research, let it not necessarily control wall we do. NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

36 But what about the school itself, as an institution? Will it survive all the profound changes taking place? Must it change? It is very problematic to discuss the whole school system in one parcel, but pretend it is possible, just for the sake of the idea. NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

37 Some reasons to have school at all a)Economy of size b)Specialization of teachers who follow the changes in their fields c)Special facilities to teach, e.g. crafts, biology, sport, … d)The socialization of children and adolescents ;creating a culture for and with them e)Pedagogical care and education f)Teaching and mentoring role g)Institutional role; the school undertakes many of new tasks that society expects; it follows what happens elsewhere and thus ensures that the system is up to date; it ensures that all the children are attended to and receive what is helpful for them h)Takes on the role of a motivator, organizer and inspection to the extent that this is needed or helpful h)Something more?

38 NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011 Some reasons to have school at all -500 years-50 yearsFuture Long agoRecentlyNowSoon a) EconomyXX?? b) SpecializationXXX?? c) Facilities XX?? d) SocializationXXX?? e) CareX?? f) TeachingXXX?? g) Institutional roleX?? h) Organizational roleXX??

39 NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011 Some reasons to have school at all -500 years-50 yearsFuture Long agoRecentlyNowSoon a) EconomyXXx b) SpecializationXXXx c) Facilities XXx d) SocializationXXXx e) CareXx f) TeachingXXXx g) Institutional roleXx h) Organizational roleXXx

40 NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011 Some reasons to have school at all -500 years-50 yearsFuture Long agoRecentlyNowSoon a) EconomyXXxx b) SpecializationXXXx c) Facilities XXx d) SocializationXXXx e) CareXx f) TeachingXXXx g) Institutional roleXx h) Organizational roleXXx

41 NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011 Some reasons to have school at all -500 years-50 yearsFuture Long agoRecentlyNowSoon a) EconomyXXxx b) SpecializationXXXxx c) Facilities XXx d) SocializationXXXx e) CareXx f) TeachingXXXx g) Institutional roleXx h) Organizational roleXXx

42 NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011 Some reasons to have school at all -500 years-50 yearsFuture Long agoRecentlyNowSoon a) EconomyXXxx b) SpecializationXXXxx c) Facilities XXxx d) SocializationXXXx e) CareXx f) TeachingXXXx g) Institutional roleXx h) Organizational roleXXx

43 NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011 Some reasons to have school at all -500 years-50 yearsFuture Long agoRecentlyNowSoon a) EconomyXXxx b) SpecializationXXXxx c) Facilities XXxx d) SocializationXXXxx e) CareXx f) TeachingXXXx g) Institutional roleXx h) Organizational roleXXx

44 NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011 Some reasons to have school at all -500 years-50 yearsFuture Long agoRecentlyNowSoon a) EconomyXXxx b) SpecializationXXXxx c) Facilities XXxx d) SocializationXXXxx e) CareXxx f) TeachingXXXx g) Institutional roleXx h) Organizational roleXXx

45 NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011 Some reasons to have school at all -500 years-50 yearsFuture Long agoRecentlyNowSoon a) EconomyXXxx b) SpecializationXXXxx c) Facilities XXxx d) SocializationXXXxx e) CareXxx f) TeachingXXXxx g) Institutional roleXx h) Organizational roleXXx

46 NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011 Some reasons to have school at all -500 years-50 yearsFuture Long agoRecentlyNowSoon a) EconomyXXxx b) SpecializationXXXxx c) Facilities XXxx d) SocializationXXXxx e) CareXxx f) TeachingXXXxx g) Institutional roleXxx h) Organizational roleXXx

47 NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011 Some reasons to have school at all -500 years-50 yearsFuture Long agoRecentlyNowSoon a) EconomyXXxx b) SpecializationXXXxx c) Facilities XXxx d) SocializationXXXxx e) CareXxx f) TeachingXXXxx g) Institutional roleXxx h) Organizational roleXXxx

48 So where are we now? On balance? NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011 We have the school, it will be there for a while; but we must ensure that is in tune with the times and its role

49 New world, new curricular wars Jón Torfi Jónasson - Enirdelm 2011 Iceland49 The subjects of the 19th and the 20th centuries Complete renewal of the existing subjects New subjects New tools, new cultures New skills and key competencies The pedagogical, social and cultural role of the school must be emphasized all the way

50 Teacher education and professional development Teacher education must be at the forefront of ongoing change Teachers must take the lead in new ideas, new thinking, new attitudes, new cultures; it is their task to present new material, new ways of working Teacher education must aim at providing a holistic professional with a good overview over her or his task; must be prepared for this in pre-service education and subsequently be continuously developing the professional task. NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

51 The pre-service education of teachers Jón Torfi Jónasson - Enirdelm 2011 Iceland51 Ensure a professional unity

52 Teacher education Teacher education must be thought of as both pre-service and in-service education and professional development. The latter part is no less important than the first part, important as it is. In fact we see continuous professional development as a major challenge. Several reports and research practices indicate that the development of educational systems now-a-days happens within the system itself, not waiting for pre-service education to have its ripple effect. See e.g. the McKinsey report from Mona Mourshed, Chinezi Chijioke Michael Barber. (2010): How the worlds most improved school systems keep getting better. McKinsey&Company.How the worlds most improved school systems keep getting better. See also the discussion at the international conference í New York, mars 2011 and the OECD background report. Andreas Schleicher. (2011). Building a High-Quality Teaching Profession Lessons from around the world. OECD.í New York, mars 2011 Building a High-Quality Teaching Profession Lessons from around the world NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

53 Conclusion summary We can predict a lot about our near (20-30 year) future, more than many people seem to appreciate. But who takes the responsibility to ensure the constant necessary development or rather re-creation? Probably our education systems will develop very slowly, for the reasons of inertia I have discussed; but then they will gradually become more and more obsolete. One of the most peculiar problems in the age of life long learning is that we don't know how to interweave pre-service education and professional development. The school is an educational and a cultural institution; it is the major tool society has for its social and economic development. The school must gradually become more preoccupied with these aspects of its aims. It must also understand the passage of time. Thus it must constantly discuss the role it is given and actively participate in constant renewal; nobody else will or can do it. But how is this best done? At the same time it should not be asked to solve all societies problems. Education in the future is uncertain to the extent that we don't know how dynamic our educational institutions will be. NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

54 Thank you Kærar þakkir NLS meeting Reykjavík 29. September 2011

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