Recently, I was at a science hui and I had the fortune of watching a dated video clip of Sir Paul Callaghan, one of our great thinkers, talking about mapping Aotearoa’s future. The video clip is still relevant today because not much has changed in more than seven years. You can even say it has got worse. Some of these issues include:
- Environmental degradation
- Social inequality/inequity
- Health and wellbeing
(McGuinness Institute, 2011)
Our world is becoming increasing complex and what is required is a shift in mindset. Sir Paul quotes Lao Tzu ‘the words of truth are always paradoxical’ and what he means is truth lies in the opposite of what we might think (McGuinness Institute, 2011).
He relates this to changing the way we live to stop exploiting our natural resources, and this could be said of our rangatahi. We need to shift our mindsets to provide the best opportunities for all our taonga to succeed, whatever that word may mean for them.
To shift from a traditional mindset is hard when you don’t know what you don’t know and phrases like ‘we are not meeting the needs of today let alone tomorrow’ and ‘we need our children to be equipped for what is coming their way, not knowing what this might be’ are being said (MCAET Talks, 2017). Hence the importance of deeper learning competencies to apply skills and understanding to job and civic life.
We are fortunate in Aotearoa to have a curriculum framework this is values-based and lends itself well to change due to its flexibility. However, I question how well we have been guided to weave the front end of the curriculum into our individual school’s kaupapa to extend to the learning of our community and stakeholders.
What opened my eyes and got me thinking about the possibilities was the NZ Education in 2025: Lifelong Learners in a Connected World – an illustrative draft vision. I was shown this about a year ago in a Postgrad course. My initial thoughts were ‘WTFudge?’ but it turned the abstract into a pathway for me and I commend the forward thinking shown in the visual document from MoE. It formed the ‘why’ basis for my research/inquiry into ‘how’ and is now what my kaupapa and tikanga are heading towards. Along with other ideas that I have picked up along the way.
Eden (MCAET Talks, 2017) articulates these ideas in a concise way addressing the assumptions that prevent systematic change. These include:
- Students are accountable to teachers
- Education is about learning information
- Teacher as expert
- School is separate from the rest of the world
By no means am I saying the ‘aha’ moment equates to ‘easy’ now. In fact, it’s harder and more complex. Definite open/growth mind-setting and problem solving have occurred so far and will continue, but the outcomes will be much better for our rangatahi and the future of Aotearoa.
Now having an idea of where I want to steer my waka and seeing what is possible, I’m experimenting with the different ways to put this kaupapa into practice where I can and share this with others. Hopefully we can chip away at this almighty ‘system’ together. The results being to produce the talent that appreciates what Aotearoa has, and who want to live here to be part of regenerating a prosperous nation.
MCAET Talks. (2017, July 17). Aaron Eden, Education Transformation Catalyst. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/225904235
McGuinness Institute. (2011, April 17). Sir Paul Callaghan StrategyNZ: Mapping our Future – March 11. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhCAyIllnXY
Ministry of Education. (2015). New Zealand Education in 2025: Lifelong Learners in a Connected World. Retrieved from https://education.govt.nz/assets/Documents/Ministry/Initiatives/Lifelonglearners.pdf