Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Education for the public good?

Another key theme that came out of the Reshaping Learning anthology, has been that thinking about learning spaces actually demands engaging with the whole 'shape' of education. At the post-compulsory level this is first about re-thinking what, where and how we learn, teach and research. Second it is about how space (conceptual, physical, virtual, social, personal)  matters in these processes. And, third, it is about generating creative and critical networks beyond the university so as to interact with other ideas and types of adult education, such as museums and other forms of public culture.

Many of the contributors to this book start from a position that higher education is under threat from pressures towards an over-riding emphasis on employability. And they look to re-valuing education as an important public service. 

I noticed that the upcoming American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual meeting in New Orleans is called "Inciting the Social Imagination: Education Research for the Public Good." As Kris D. Guti√©rrez and Joanne Larson write: "We are in the midst of a vibrant and troubling education paradox. On the one hand, it is a time of remarkable interest in education, with increased attention to reform policies, unprecedented educational legislation, and money from all sectors devoted to these efforts. In public discourse, education remains foundational to opening up a range of opportunities: to achieve social and economic mobility, to gain and secure employment, and to develop future life skills. Politicians refer to the knowledge society, economists write about the new economy, and the proliferation of innovative technologies demands new forms of learning in an unparalleled knowledge economy. Yet the path or shape that these efforts take is toward technocratic and market-driven solutions to the everyday issues schools, teachers, and students experience."

The conference will therefore explore how educational research might help deal with these challenges, particularly in enabling us to better re-imagine what an education for the public good might look like.

So ... I typed 'education for the public good' into Google and found a whole lot of stuff.....

The image here is of the Checkland Building, Falmer Campus, University of Brighton and is taken from a webpage advertising an upcoming pubic debate at the University entitled The future of university education? to be held on Saturday 30th April 2011.

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