Innovating an Obsolete Schooling System

Deconstructing to Reconstruct Education (Part 1 of 4)     

As an educator and academic who has worked and studied on three continents for over twenty years, I have been experimenting with school innovation as a classroom teacher, administrative leader and researcher to address the problem of an obsolete educational system that is beyond reforming.  

Take a minute to take that in.  We are beyond fixes and work arounds.  We need an overhaul.  Yet in order to imagine what a new educational system could be we must understand what it is and what it has been.  You see, so much of how school is done seems normal to us because it is the way that we have experienced school.  In order to critically evaluate it we need to see that our normal is just one possible normal of many possible normals.  In other words, there are many ways to do school.  Each of these ways of doing school tells us something about our beliefs on education.  When we can recognize that there are many different ways of thinking about and doing school based on multiple practices and theories, we can deconstruct schooling in order to reinvent it.

What I am suggesting goes far beyond adding a STEM or STEAM class, building a maker space, including a global awareness week or holding a social entrepreneurship fair to an otherwise traditional curriculum and traditional school building, which is what many schools have done while waving the flag of innovation.  There are schools that have chosen to be more innovative by creating new curricula, transforming their teaching and learning methods and reinventing how schools are organized and it is this innovation that must be built upon.  For just as any other field, to reinvent means to create new possibilities through research and design.  In education we need to become more consciously aware of what the means and ends of schooling are today and what they have been in the past in order to imagine what they could be in the future.  This starts with what we understand to be the fundamental purpose of schooling.
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To transform education in order to move humanity forward to face the challenges of the 21st century, increasingly globalized world in a collaborative, creative, critical, connected and caring way.

The founder and primary contributor to Education for Contemporary Times is Sarah O. Weiler, long-time educator with a M.A. in Global Education from the University of Illinois and a M.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Education at the prestigious Institute of Education at the University of London in the UK.
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