A call for reflection
By Eleni Kartalia
Creating and fostering innovative curricula is the strongest response that educational leadership can offer in order to stimulate a visionary strategy for all learners’ success. Critical reflection mirrors collective action for a safe future.
Envisioning the future in a world that is constantly challenged (by the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the migration debate, natural disasters, climate change, depletion of natural resources, economic instability, social polarization, artificial intelligence) and creates uncertainty and ambiguity, compels an attention for a sine qua non predictor to ensure its sustainability.
Education is the only optimistic and pragmatic resource that addresses new realities promptly, creates recovery plans to compensate for the changing demands of societies and impacts effectively on a global scale the future ‘currency’ of humanity, the student community. Rising to the educational challenge to address a crisis as an opportunistic path for evolution and redesign innovatively the learning framework is an act of accountability for the systemic risks, equitable redistribution, intergenerational justice, global altruism that designates the declaration of human survival through the world’s guardianship.
A dynamic vision for curriculum and syllabus design stemmed from the most alerting educational data. According to the report ‘The State of the Global Education Crisis: A path to Recovery’ the immediate goal for every country would be to prioritize academic recovery for all learners and modify all educational environments into ‘more equitable, efficient, and resilient’ (World Bank, 2021, p.43) in order to compensate for the severe losses of cognitive development, socio-emotional wellbeing and consequently the learners’ future social status. ‘Governments across the globe will spend about $5 trillion on K-12 education this year’ (World Bank, January 2022) to restore the COVID-19 impact and prevent new extent of damage according to the 4th International Day of Education as ‘we are losing a generation’ (World Bank, January 2022). What is the most drastic direction for the 21st Century education to move in so as to secure success under such a stentorian ultimatum?
Reflecting on the normative and artificial model of one-size-fits-all there is an imperative need for an empirical and evidence-based educational design (CAST, 2014) that harmonizes with the ultimate pedagogical goal, the fulfillment of potentiality in life. The 21st Century Education should be mainly based on the four elemental building blocks of ‘knowledge, skills, character and metacognition’ (Center for Curriculum Redesign, 2015) that not only give a high-quality value to the constitution of pedagogy but also reform the educational experience for all agents (learners, teachers, partners in education as families, institutions, societies) in order to thrive individually and collectively in life.
Ideally the purpose of the reconceptualization of syllabus design is about reaching a cluster of reality standards and authentic competencies. Success in education is about retaining a dynamic equilibrium: identifying an individual’s core values and their interaction with the other members of the community, activating the cognitive but also behavioral and socio-emotional skills as bio-sources, cultivating global identity while consolidating ethnicity as members of interconnected systems, co-existing with technology while strengthening the 21st Century skills. Finally, it is about centralizing metacognition in the heart of the learning process and offering self-regulation strategies to the learners in order to synchronize their acquisition, intentional thinking on how learning occurs and the internal drive to succeed (Mansilla & Schleicher, 2022; OECD, n.d.; Education Endowment Foundation, n.d.) and be autonomized. Embarking on an educational journey also needs a growth mindset as ‘believing people can develop their abilities’ (Dweck, 2017, p. 212) values the heterogeneity of human nature.
The Greek Minister of Education and Religious Affairs, Niki Kerameus, and the American economist Jeffrey Sacks, both serving as high level advisors (Mission 4.7, n.d.), in Delphi Economic Forum 2022 (DEF, 2022) pinpointed the need for a transformative education policy, as investment in human capital is the most profitable.
Transformative education (Mission 4.7, n.d.) is a framework for strategically planning for all students’ success as social capitals. In other words, it is inclusive education, ‘a deep respect for the identity of the individual’ (Tomlinson, 2016, p. 12) aligned with a proactive human bond as ‘we are challenged to become the best version of ourselves as we challenge our students to become their best as well’ (Tomlinson, 2017, p.7), which is a fundamental human right.
Taking everything into account, the community of education from policy makers, curriculum designers, frontline teachers should retrospect our pedagogic philosophy and readjust our roles so as to guide our steps to evolution through consciousness, innovation, and creativity. Our unity will produce an action plan of goal setting and option development in order to become the ambassadors of a powerful message ‘I touch the future. I teach.’ (McAuliffe, as cited in Ratcliffe, 2016).
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Delphi Economic Forum. (April 13, 2022). DEF VII-Opening Discussion. Retrieved May 23, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JDSgpWqPqw
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Tomlinson, C.A. (2016). The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the needs of All Learners. Pearson.
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World Bank Blogs. (2022). We are losing a generation: The devastating impacts of Covid-19. Retrieved April 29, 2022, from https://blogs.worldbank.org/voices/we-are-losing-generation-devastating-impacts-covid-19
Eleni Kartalia is a freelance teacher of English. She is a TESOL Greece Oversight Committee member. She is always respectful of the values, cultural differences and expectations of learners and she is passionate about providing learners opportunities to develop holistically.