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A new look at transforming education

Welcome to the newest Oxfam Australia blog, Educators shaping change. As its name suggests, the blog is intended to be a resource for educators seeking to bring about positive change through their work in the classroom. We’d welcome your feedback or suggestions.

If you haven’t already seen this captivating animation of a talk by creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson (or his illuminating TED talks) then be prepared for an insightful look at how and why we educate. Robinson challenges some of the most basic assumptions of our education system and raises as many questions as he answers. It’s a must see for any educator.

Since seeing this talk I’ve discussed it with many friends (it’s been circulated heavily, particularly in teaching circles) and have discovered that it touches a nerve with many who watch it. Non-educators love it and wonder why it hasn’t already been turned into action. The professional educators love it as well, but wonder just how realistic it would be to implement such a dramatic shift in our education system.  A common response is “if only…”.

In addition to generating a lot of interest online, Robinson’s ideas have also featured in The Guardian and over two nights on the 7:30 Report with Kerry O’Brien . It’s clear there is widespread interest in and even support for Robinson’s ideas.

So what can an individual teacher do about it? When juggling a full teaching load, extra-curricular activities, department meetings, marking and, on very rare occasions, a life of your own, how can one person bring about a fundamental shift in the way our education system works?

I don’t have all the answers, but my response would be ‘a lot’. We have a voice and we can use it. And that starts by asking questions, having discussions and challenging the myth that nothing will ever change.

It’s a lesson we’re constantly teaching our students, but also, perhaps, something we could learn a little more from ourselves.

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Education is a very important part of Oxfam’s work. Read about what we’re doing to promote education around the world.