What to Learn NOW: How to Make Schools more caring, inclusive places
Dr Gerry Jeffers, lecturer in the education department in NUI Maynooth responds to our question: what should we be learning now to create the future we want?
- What should our education system be focused on now? Reforming schools to be more inclusive, caring, participative and enabling arenas.
- What should our schools be teaching? Schools teach through subjects (what) and also by particular kinds of learning experiences (how) but perhaps most of all by the kinds of places they are. We need to look more critically at the kinds of places school are for all learners and teachers.
- What new subjects should be available? Changing subject titles may distract from more fundamental reform but it would be good to see Politics and Society being introduced at Leaving Cert level.
- What should future teachers be learning to be able to meet the needs of children born today? Respect for children's rights, beliefs in the human capacity for growth and development, skills to enable young people's learning, an ability to work collegially, capacity for critical reflective practice,
- What can universities do now to equip their students with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to survive and thrive? Believe in the value of holistic education and resist the strong pressures to respond to short-term, pragmatic, narrow employment related goals.
- How should we educate future political, business, spiritual leaders? Focus on respect for human rights, valuing all people's capacity for growth and development, appreciating the difference between an economy and a society (local and global), developing an ability to critique current realities seeing strengths and weaknesses, learn how to work as part of a team.