A real education, to enlighten and guide us through our past, present and future...
|23 Jul 2018|
|WM Summer 2018 edition|
In 1964, Bob Dylan wrote one of his more apocryphal songs, “The Times They Are a-Changin’ – ‘you better start swimmin', Or you'll sink like a stone, For the times they are a-changin'”.
We have an educational system that was designed to give everyone a basic level of understanding to perform the tasks and jobs for the 20th Century, in an industrial age of manufacturing and conveyor-belt technology. But, times they are a-changin’; in fact, they have changed; the technological age is upon us. The technological revolution of the past forty years crept upon us like a stealth bomber, and with as much destruction and technical sophistication.
Yes, the iPhone does have more computing power than all of NASA had during the Apollo days of the 1970’s, but that stone-age technology had one simple and marvelous advantage, it was crash-proof. Today we are not crash-proof. Malware infiltrates to destroy, never to create; social manipulation makes it difficult to know which way is ‘up’, so it is not surprising that it so often makes us ‘down’; fake news that challenges scientific logic is a virus that infects our lives. Our systems become corrupted; social and moral traditions become toast – and we are burnt from the outside in.
In the early 70’s, as NASA was planning for the moon-landing, educationalists were starting to discuss more openly what they called the ‘hidden curriculum’; the unwritten, unofficial, and unintended values and perspectives that students learnt in school. We now call these attributes the ‘Learner Profile’; a range of human capacities and responsibilities that go beyond academic success.
The incredible advances in technology, our Brave New World well beyond 1984, need to be counterbalanced by generational foundations of family, legacy, trust, and simple decency. Staying close to your personal networks, such as this one, your alumni network, but also being decent towards those around us considering the simple maxim of ‘paying it forward’ and ‘do unto others as you would do unto yourself’. Quite simple really.
So, as we create new spaces for AISB students to ensure that form follows educational function, there is something more important. Among these spaces, the Early Learning Centre, Secondary School additions or a Design Centre for the future, which you can read more about in this issue, help us create a vision for the future. We may understand how to differentiate a polynomial, analyse a poem, critique historical scholarship, bury a jumper, tweak a piece of code, unzip some DNA, or absorb another language, but social and personal values must remain steadfast and receive our undivided attention.
So, in the 21st century, as we head for the technological stars, let us keep our feet firmly on the ground, to see things as they actually are, not what others tell us we should see – a real education, to enlighten and guide us through our past, present and future, so that we do not sink like a stone, because the times they are a-changin’.
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