Carla Neuss is the Development Manager at Greene’s; she is graduate of UC Berkeley in English Literature and holds an MPhil from St Peter’s College, Oxford.
Amidst the growing discussion on how the UK can lead the world in education standards, Sir Ken Robinson’s 2010 RSA lecture on the need for a change in our educational paradigms has increasing relevance. In an globalised world, the purpose of education, now more than ever, is aiming to equip young people with the tools they need to integrate into the global economy. The economic crisis of the last few years has put additional pressure on education systems around the world and led to a increase in alternatives to education through methods like distance learning, digital tutorials, and open access to educational materials online. Business magazine, Fast Company, lists the new innovative companies and non-profits that are rapidly emerging to fill the needs of students, parents, and schools through new modes of engagement and learning.
In his lecture video, illustrated by RSA Animate, Sir Ken Robinson traces the development of the current model of education through the historical periods of the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution. Ultimately, he argues that this ‘factory’ model of education has become outdated: ‘If you are interested in the model of education, you don’t start from a production line mentality’. With his call for developing ‘divergent thinking’ in students, Robinson’s lecture ends with a call for the development of new, creative methods of approaching education–ones that meet the needs, challenges, and potential of each student as an individual. While technology is allowing us to explore educational methods in exciting and engaging ways, Robinson’s analysis allows the traditional method of the tutorial to still stand as a building block for educational engagement. The growing methods of online learning are basing themselves ever more firmly in the aspects of discourse, engagement, and individualisation that are the hallmarks of the tutorial method. While our paradigms of education are changing, the tutorial method still stands as the hallmark of learning that allow for growth, divergent thinking and creativity. In the midst of this educational paradigm shift, we should strive to carry the best of our educational history into meeting the needs of the future.