Tuesday, June 30, 2009

More from Beyond Current Horizons

Some additional reports are now available from the Beyond Current Horizons Web site:
  • The schooled society and beyond: the modernizing role of formal education as an institution - considers the growth of formal education, and celebrates the success of formal education; theorizes that formal education largely determines society, rather than prepares students for society. Schooling doesn't prepare; it transforms. Rather than being oppressive, schooling is founded on principles of egalitarianism and actualisation; where schooling is genuinely oppressive, it is usually so because of suppressive political influence. Formal education focuses on "academic intelligence", defined as "those cognitive skills needed to do abstract reasoning, problem-solving, higher order thinking, multiple perspective taking, and effortful thinking"; this increasingly replaces the "more traditional academic skills such as recitation, disputation, memorization, formalistic debate, formulae application, accuracy, and authoritative text reading and exegesis". As a result, fluid IQ (thinking) scores are increasing significantly while crystalised IQ (recall) scores are increasing moderately.
  • Knowledge, creativity and communication in education: multimodal design - with a focus in particular on the evolution of textbooks, in terms of style, content and participation.
  • Summative report: Identity, communities and citizenship - a wide-reaching and well-grounded consideration of issues; the 'potential for schools' section has much in common with that of Gilbert (2005), who argues for a focus on training for thinking. 
I particularly enjoyed the first of these three contributions, not least because it portrays formal education as being on the right trajectory for the future. Formal education is working, and that, well. Continuous improvement is a part of that success.

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