Creating the Future's Schools

By Hedley Beare | Go to book overview

7

Schools which break the mould

Principle No. 1 Bring the big picture into focus, and apply it to your particular school.

are in a position to design something really new, the public acceptance of the new scheme is largely based on whether the new resembles the best of the old. It is very difficult for school planners to break out of the conventions which currently control public notions about schooling.

Even so, plans for the future are best when they begin with an ideal model, a mental picture of how we would like things to be if we had no artificial constraints placed upon us. Because reformers rarely if ever achieve all that they set out to achieve, what emerges is a compromise between what they really want and what it is possible to achieve. Any person, then, who intends to plan a school or a schooling process which meets the needs of the future must go through the intellectual exercise of asking what kind of a school or schooling process they would really build if the circumstances were ideal.

Furthermore, most school planners seem to begin with a school—a single school or school site; they therefore take the context, the wider society, as a given, as unchanging, as a variable which can be held constant while the planning exercise is carried out.

Schools have been slow to comprehend the new scepticism about possessions and the disabilities inherited by owning underused plant and equipment. For example, the capital investment in a normal secondary school, its buildings, equipment and playing fields, would easily account for $10 to $15 million. In terms of hours available in the year (8 hours a day for about 180 days a year), they are formally used for about 17 per cent (or a sixth) of the year. If your school had to pay rental for each of those hours when the school plant is set aside for its exclusive use, would you as a manager be wise to use the facilities at only one-sixth capacity? And even then, do the occupants maximize the use

-85-

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Creating the Future's Schools
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • 1 - The Myth of the Unchanging School 1
  • Part I - The Big Picture 9
  • 2 - From an Old World-View to a New 11
  • 3 - From a Society of Factories to a Society of Knowledge Workers 23
  • 4 - New Ways of Knowing 36
  • 5 - The Networked Universe 54
  • 6 - From Bureaucracy to Enterprise Networks 65
  • Part II - Looking at the Practicalities 83
  • 7 - Schools Which Break the Mould 85
  • 8 - Choosing What Future to Have 99
  • 9 - Building a Manifesto for the School as a Provider 113
  • 10 - On Reporting Outcomes 128
  • 11 - Reworking the Curriculum Within a New Mindset 144
  • 12 - Teachers for the School of the Future 166
  • 13 - A New Kind of School 186
  • Bibliography 194
  • Index 203
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