This article by John Abbott and Terence Ryan appeared in the November 1999 issue of Educational Leadership. The emerging brain research that supports constructivist learning collides head-on with many of our institutional arrangements for learning. Introduction: a story to make a point Like many liberal studies teachers, I was slow in coming to terms with […]
If young people are to be equipped effectively to meet the challenges of the 21st century it is surely prudent to seek out the very best understandings from current scientific research into the nature of how humans learn before considering further reform of the current system.
This article by John Abbott and Terence Ryan appeared in the Spring, 1999 issue of Education Canada.
John Abbott is worried about our children and our future.
But the president of the 21st Century Learning Initiative is an optimist, and part of his power for change in the way communities view education is his contagious enthusiasm, and emerging optimism that says communities have the knowledge, the power and technology to use the human capacity for learning to transform the world.
This article first appeared in the March 21, 1999 Winona (Minnesota) Daily News.
Education, so politicians in many lands are quick to claim, is at the top of the political agenda – the “number one” item. Yet, for most people, education seems a strangely boring topic. Like religion, people sense that it’s important, but prefer to leave it to others to practice or think about. Search a bookshop and you are most likely to find the education section in some dark, out-of-the-way, corner, and most of the books on the shelves will be about specialised topics of little general interest. Few education books make it to the front of the shop, and even fewer are promoted as best sellers.
For more than a decade politicians, business leaders and educational leaders have assumed that their education systems needed reform, not re-design. On both sides of the Atlantic reformers have insisted that young people can be successfully prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the Knowledge Age by getting systems of education designed for the Industrial Age to work more efficiently and towards a higher standard. In taking this stance, much of the emerging body of research into the nature of human learning that challenges the underlying principles of the systems that reformers have taken for granted has failed to be fully appreciated.
Being an English academic working with researchers outside the United Kingdom offers me the opportunity to relate British events to what is happening in other countries. Distance certainly lends a sense of perspective, if not always enchantment!
This article was prepared by John Abbott for The Independent newspaper in Great Britain. The article appeared in Information Technology and the Comprehensive Ideal published in London in 1997.
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