Paddy McCaughan

Basel, Switzerland, Switzerland

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Paddy McCaughan
Posted about 1 year ago
Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution!
I like what Ken Robinson says and I like the way that he says it. I'm an educator and teach middle school science, I love teaching and I wouldn't want to do anything else. Middle school seems ideal to me because at this age it's still possible to get kids really excited about the mechanisms and possibilities in the world around them, it's wonderful. The thing that I'm always left with when I listen to his talks is one the one hand a sense of the rightness of what he is saying and the excitement of the possibility of realising the ideals that he speaks about but on the otherhand a sense of bewilderment and confusion about HOW. How do we do this?The answer in part seems to lie outside our current political, social and professional models because all of them are structured by and in their turn provide structure for the current educational models (I've personally always liked the idea of individuals working within existing structures with an approach and an outlook that transcends those structures). I think this because when we look at many of the different structures that have been created for education i.e. The traditional system, Steiner education, Montessori and IB. They all seem to hit similar stumbling blocks when like he says 'they are modelled and multiplied'. So how do we achieve an education system which is not a 'system'? How do we cater for a large number of people without becoming 'large scale'? How do we ensure that qualifications gained can accurately inform institutions, employers etc of quality and coherence? How else can we inform the competitive professional environments of today that our students are ready and prepared to be worth the investment? How can we meet the needs of tomorrow's graduates whilst also meeting the needs of tomorrow's world in today's political, social and institutional environments? How can we convince those in power to grant us the scope and the resources to achieve this without a precedent? I'm open to suggestion...
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Paddy McCaughan
Posted over 1 year ago
Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the Cloud
My opinion is that schools as we know them are far from obsolete and in fact, I maintain that they are the best current model that we have. They function largely independent of any special circumstances created by novelty or community sub-culture; indeed they operate day-in, day-out very much within a real world context. I think that the idea promoted in this talk is an outstanding model for equipping the very poorest amongst us and in general any new ideas about education are very valuable and worthwhile as they feed into this evolving dynamic that we call ‘the education system’. If you take the International Baccalaureate Curriculum, for example, you will see many examples of this self-organizational idea of education; albeit not quite as radical but equal to the performance of the English schools that were shown in the talk. Modern curricula have been written specifically targeting the skills and attributes required to develop students as successfully independent life-long learners and are far removed from the Victorian model of education. It’s not an accurate statement to say that our education system is obsolete. I think that if the speaker had spent more time seeking to understand the modern education system and contemporary curriculum design he might have discovered that modern schooling has a lot more in common with his idea than he may have first imagined.