MA in Education Activity - Write 400 words on your personal view of knowledge, taking into account the different types of knowledge and how it can be conceptualised.
I believe that knowledge develops and changes over time. What was true of the world 300 years ago is not true of the world today. Though it could be argued, from a transcandental realism point of view and an empiric point of view, that many knowledges have always been around just waiting to be discovered, for example gravity, that cannot be said to be an accurate view of knowledge. As our technologies change, cultures progress and natural world changes over time, so does the essence of what ‘knowledge’ is. Knowledge changes over time, it changes according to opinions and new findings, it changes as a result of progress, it changes as a result of dialogue. I feel that knowledge is best described by the sociocultural and social constructivism approaches (EE830, Unit 5, Table 5.2), in particular the Deweyan perspective, and that knowledge comes best from knowledge comes best from dialogue and group exploration (Bruner’s Interactional tenet). I believe that for education to be future facing and empowering then the below elements need to be at the forefront of what we understand as knowledge:
Knowledge is influenced by the learner and teacher’s personal experiences, cultural settings and needs I.e. the Deweyan perspective, impressionistic knowledge (Bereiter and Scardamalia as discussed by Moon and Leach, 2008), Personal knowledge (Burnard, 1996), Narrative tenet (Bruner, 2002),
Important concepts, facts and ideas should be revisited regularly as part of a ‘spiral curriculum’ in order to work towards the embedded learning and mastery needed in order to discover new knowledge (Bruner, 1960).
Knowledge should be relevant, personal and useful to the learner for their personal and professional lives. It should also produce useful outcomes for society as a whole I.e. Procedural knowledge (Burnard, 1996), The Twelve Principles of Knowledge Building and the tenets of; Perspectival, Constructivism, Externalization, Institutional and the tenet of Identity and Self Esteem (Bruner, 2002)
Knowledge should be gained so as to have the potential to create meaningful and lasting change: Constructivism tenet and Perspectival tenet (Bruner, 2002)
Knowledge should be exploratory and multisensory in nature: Empiricism
Some knowledge is transcendent and this knowledge should underpin all other learning: Transcendental Realism, Procedural Knowledge (Burnard, 1996), Propositional Knowledge (Burnard, 1996).
Open University Course MA in Education. Module EE830 Learning and teaching: educating the next generation, Unit 5
Bruner, J. (1960). The process of education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Bruner, J. (2002) ‘Tenets to understand cultural perspective on learning’, in Moon, B., Shelton-Mayes, A., Hutchinson, S. (eds), Teaching, Learning and Curriculum in Secondary Schools, London, RoutledgeFalmer, pp. 10–24.
Burnard, P. (1996) Acquiring Interpersonal Skills: A Handbook of Experiential Learning for Health Professionals, 2nd edn, London, Chapman & Hall.
Moon, B. and Leach, J. (2008) The Power of Pedagogy, London: Sage.
Moon, B., Shelton-Mayes, A., Hutchinson, S. (2002) Teaching, Learning and Curriculum in Secondary Schools. London, RoutledgeFalmer.
Activity 4.6 Your own vision
"Use your reflections in to compose a 250-word articulation of your own vision for the role and purpose of education. State what you consider to be the prime purpose of education, along with the reasons why you think this way. Use the ideas you have discussed as well as the papers you have read, either as part of the module or as wider reading, to support the idea that your vision is one which could enable young people to thrive in an uncertain future. "
(Ok - this is more than 250 words. Rant alert)
I believe that education should empower people to build a happy life with a sense of responsibility for their communities and globally. It should reflect Paul Warwick’s compassion pedagogy and the framework developed by Plymouth University’s Centre for Sustainable Futures (CSF), in particular, when he says we need to “think around, not just probable futures, but preferable futures and what we need to be doing in the here-and-now in order to reach those. “(Warwick, 2015)
Within the Early Years the UK is severely lacking and is largely reliant on the passion and pedagogies of practitioners. This is particularly true of the age group 4 – 5 years, once children reach Reception Class as it is at this time that children start to become government statistics – Free School Meals, EAL, Pupil Premium, meeting the targets set in the end of year EYFS Profile or not. The list goes on. I believe that this pushing upwards – the government drive to make children into academics from a younger and younger age – is stealing childhood. Though the government official line might be that it is closing the gap for children coming from a disadvantaged background, I feel that it is doing the opposite. For children who are ready to thrive academically this approach is fine but the majority of children are not developmentally ready to be academic at the ages of 4 – 5, whether this is because they are coming from a socio-economically challenged background, whether they are EAL, SEN or even a Summer Born. For most children the reception year is a year when the biggest benefits would be obtained by having a play based approach with a heavy focus on communication and language, social and emotional development and physical development, with a slower introduction to reading and writing and the mastery of mathematics and literacy (which is now expected in the reception year) being left until age 6.
The 2020 changes to the EYFS Development Matters framework, made academic expectations closer to those of Key Stage 1. Practitioners now need to be more creative in exploring deeper issues which are universally important, such as sustainability, human rights, social interaction, physical development and just being a good and kind human being. We need to ensure that these are not the victims of the pressure of ever-increasing traditionally academic expectations.
The politics of knowledge (Wade, 2012) has meant that historically, and to this day, the focus and purpose of education has often been on the economic strand of society. After all – a primary concern of politicians is how to keep the country’s economy healthy. But this human capital model of education is one which reduces education to the absolute basics.
We see this all the time – from the government drive to push early years education closer to that of Key Stage 1, to the emphasis in standardised testing in primary schools being purely on maths and English (and not the fun, creative, side of English, but rather the technicalities of basic comprehension and Spelling, Punctuation and Grammer). In secondary education the focus then widens, with the sciences, ICT and Design Technology taking more of a front seat alongside maths, English and a modern foreign language, but still the arts are the areas which suffer – both in curriculum space and in funding.
This weighted focus on just the elements of education which make a person employable, leads to an erosion of all other subjects and, ultimately, makes education less enjoyable.
The arts help humans to live a full and impassioned life and it is in this fulfilled life, (a focus in the Capabilities Model of learning and not in the Human Capital model), that we find happiness.
I would argue that involvement and exposure to the arts also helps to create a better sense of well-being and a wider sense of the world as a whole. To live a life where everything is built around being employable and working to the exclusion of all other areas of life, is truly a sad one. The arts bring us joy, questions, challenging thoughts and concepts. They can challenge the very society we live in and can create an almost visceral connection to the world and the people in it.
I would also go further and propose that investment in the arts would help to bridge the gap between the Capabilities Model and the Human Capital Model as, with over 1000 art galleries in the UK, along with music venues, theatres and concert halls being the main attraction in many of our cities, it is essential that students learn that working in the arts can be a viable career path and of help to the country’s economy.
Reference: Wade, R. and Parker, J. (2008) ‘EFA-ESD Dialogue: Educating for a sustainable world’, Education for Sustainable Development Policy Dialogue No.1. Paris, 21 September 2007. UNESCO [Online]. Available at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/ images/ 0017/ 001780/ 178044e.pdf (Accessed 4 June 2018).