20TH CENTURY EDUCATION SYSTEM FAILING 21ST CENTURY STUDENTS SAY LEADING ACADEMICS
Schools are failing to equip students for the modern world
Pupils are taught to pass exams rather than to think for themselves
The system is failing students of all capabilities, the gifted pupils as much as the challenged learners
Many teachers are frustrated, students bored and parents tearing their hair out
Politicians “just don’t get it”
Youngsters must be helped to develop strengths such as curiosity, creativity and craftsmanship
Doing this helps them to do better on the tests, as well as in life
Britain's Biggest Education Conversation is a clarion call to everyone with an interest in education.
Are schools teaching our children the right things? And are they teaching them the right way? Are students being taught to become rounded problem solvers or is the target driven system draining their creativity and damaging their curiosity?
According to educational thought-leaders Guy Claxton and Bill Lucas, the 20th century curriculum is not fit for the 21st century - and they're sounding a clarion call to teachers, parents, grandparents and pupils to join their movement for change. They’re also challenging politicians to give their views in the lead up to the general election.
Guy and Bill have articulated their findings in a new book called Educating Ruby, which takes its title from the 1980’s stage show and movie Educating Rita.
“Educating Rita offered a radical insight into class-ridden attitudes to learning. Thirty years on, Ruby - who could perhaps be Rita’s daughter - is battling her own challenges, but this time in the school classroom. She wants to learn but the system conspires against her, she feels that what she is being taught has little relevance to the skills she will need when she enters the workplace. A once keen pupil, she becomes bored and possibly disruptive. Her parents face a daily challenge to motivate her even to go to school, though in their heart of hearts they sympathise with her complaints," says Guy.
“There are many Rubys in every classroom. Many of them are, or could be, high achievers - the education system as it stands is failing gifted pupils as much as it fails those with challenges. Teachers and parents are being left just as frustrated as the students. We have to find a way of helping ALL of the Rubys in our classrooms to flourish and succeed.
“Today’s school system wastes the time and talent of many of the bright young minds entrusted to it. Children are being taught to comply not to flourish, to pass exams blindly rather than to think and act with courage and imagination.
"But worse still, the creativity and natural curiosity of many children is beaten out of them by a system which forces teachers to tick boxes rather than teach people.
“That is why so many students leave education ill-equipped for the modern day workplace and why the Confederation of British Industry says that too many of our schools are still ‘grim exam factories’.
"Our view is that children need to be empowered to develop the 7Cs, sometimes referred to as a character curriculum. These are confidence, curiosity, collaboration, communication, creativity, commitment and craftsmanship and are a vital plank in preparing the ground for the fast-moving world and workplaces they will one day inhabit.
"The 7Cs are now recognised in many countries as elements that should be central to twenty-first century education, but they don't compute with politicians who measure in black and white targets and can only see as far as the next general election; education is far too important to be treated with such short-termism.
"Business leaders are forever saying that young people arrive ill-prepared for the modern workplace yet our politicians are on the back foot with the 7Cs when we should be shoulder to shoulder with the groundbreakers leading the change."
Guy and Bill are calling on parents, grandparents, teachers, students and those in business to join their growing bandwagon for change.
"We need a serious national conversation about what is worth learning today. That’s why we’re launching Britain’s Biggest Education Conversation, a call to action for mums, dads, grandparents, teachers, students and those in business to make their voices heard and tell politicians and authorities what changes are needed to modernise teaching and prepare young people for the competitive and fast-moving world that awaits them when they walk out of the classroom doors for the last time.
“We’re also keen to hear from thought leaders in politics including those hoping to enter parliament in May - convince us that you understand the problems and that you have some creative solutions for a new age in education.
“We feel very strongly that everyone with a stake in education should have a say rather than policy being imposed top down by a central government that's remote from our classrooms and out of touch with the young people whose futures depend on it.
“We have a virtual mission HQ at educatingruby.org and that’s where Britain’s Biggest Education Conversation is getting started, so we urge everyone with an interest to click through and have their say. The website also has a call to action page to give you some ideas for who to talk to and how to get your concerns to the right places. We’ve had enough top down in education, we now need bottom up, and that means YOU.
"This is no ‘trendy liberal’ agenda, it is sound common sense backed by research, and it needs to happen now to save the next generation of Rubys from losing the will to learn."
For more information or to arrange an interview, please call Karen or Ian at Just Talking on 07941 036 285