An education expert from the University of Newcastle contends that Australia’s schooling system is largely stuck in the 19th century.
Dr Maura Sellars, a former teacher with a wealth of experience, told Education Review that “the whole purpose of education at present is economic, instead of multi-faceted like it has been in the past.”
The academic has also noticed that in many schools the “structural organisation” of classrooms at the moment emulates those in the 19th century, promoting a “transmission pedagogy” where the teacher stands at the front of the class and desks are neatly arranged. Teachers are expected to transmit information or knowledge to students, which the students are then expected to recall.
Sellars equates this type of learning with the bottom rung of Bloom’s taxonomy of recalling and also says it coincides with pushes for direct instruction or explicit teaching, as others have called it. Sellars also notes that the current school system uses the language of factories in the 19th century, with words like “benchmarking” and “outcomes” used daily.
In a nutshell, the University of Newcastle academic asserts schooling has become part of a neo-liberal agenda where “economic rationalism has been applied to education”. Although acknowledging their importance, she views the emphasis on numeracy and literacy in today’s schools as not dissimilar to the narrow focus on reading, writing and arithmetic in the 19th century.
Consequently, Sellars believes many of today’s students are missing out on a rich education and are not developing the metacognitive skills to become lifelong learners.Do you have an idea for a story?
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