Education: not a fixed abstraction

In his book The Long Revolution, in a chapter on ‘Education and Society’, Williams wrote:  …we speak sometimes as if education were a fixed abstraction, a settled body of teaching and learning, and as if the only problem it presents to us is that of distribution: this amount, for this period of time, to this or […]

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Education Without Borders: Syria’s Children

Malala Yousafzai – Portrait by Jonathan Yeo The mission of A World at School is: We: make noise for education, asking leaders to raise budgets, build schools, train teachers and improve learning – and we use your voice to do this move governments and policy makers to action by providing them with concrete data and action plans, and by exposing them to […]

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The Dictatorship of No Alternative

‘The dictatorship of no alternative’ is a phrase used by Brazilian social and political commentator (and politician) Roberto Mangabeira Unger. He argues that, too often, those who offer alternatives to the status quo are dismissed either as utopian or trivial. Ideas will be rejected as utopian if they are too distant from the established order; […]

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Don’t Diss Media Studies

Neil Postman, of Teaching As A Subversive Activity fame, noted in a talk uploaded to Youtube: .…if we had in this country serious.…media literacy, media education, media studies, whatever you would call it, beginning in the earliest grades and going on right through university I think we could develop a population of knowledgeable people with the […]

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Human Capacity

Education is a universal. It is a truism to say that, in every age throughout human history, in every society, every nation, every tribe, every empire, we have sought to pass to each succeeding generation the skills, the knowledge and the ideology deemed necessary for survival and progress. However, while education has been a universal, […]

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Good and Bad eLearning

It is common, even amongst strong advocates for the use of digital technology in education, to begin any discussion of eLearning with an affirmation that the ‘e’ is an unnecessary prefix to the ‘learning.’ The most common argument is that it’s all about learning, that the technology is a mere bit player in the learning […]

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Echoes of Education Debates Past

It is no surprise, of course, that so many debates we hear in education today are themselves echoes from past arguments. Two books, one from the end of the 19th century and the other from the start of the 20th century, have given me food for thought recently.  The older book, Essays on Educational Reformers, by RH […]

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Panjandrums and their Playground

Let’s pretend for a moment that the formal education system has been designed and established to produce independent thinkers, people who, at the end of 10 or 12 or 15 or 18 years of formal education, can recognize and cut through bullshit when they see it or hear it. I can hear the laughter already, […]

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University as Public Currency

A university is not a scientific hothouse with some frills around the edges – such as the humanities – generating off-the-peg ideas for business to patent and commercialise. It is an independent, autonomous institution housing multiple academic disciplines whose cross-fertilisations and serendipities lie at the heart of the capacity to enlarge the knowledge base. It […]

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