Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 2 ‘We are producing a lot of sound together’

A large and a small animal cross a bridge, says the small one smilingly to the large one: ‘We are producing a lot of sound together’

Today saw a constant switching between very successful examples of making a difference on a limited scale and introducing possible models and structures on a system level to help define direction and priorities: from the teacher, feeling motivated because she/he achieved a breakthrough with a struggling student to a tentative framework for Early Childhood Care and Development that potentially touch the lives of a billion children. On this day the theme of ‘What children should know and be able to do and become’ functioned as organizing principle for introductions and discussions about providing the best possible start for children, what children need to learn, how to help them to learn, how data and assessment can inform us about progress being made and how to include the voice of the student in his/her development.

From seemingly incompatible starting positions whether socially, culturally or structurally some elements surfaced that could be condensation points for a possible direction.
  • Education is not an isolated activity. Especially in early childhood development,  in socially disadvantaged settings and in the linking to the world of work, initiatives can be more successful and get more support if they are embedded in a wider context 
  • Putting a matrix together could help select/use strategies that ‘work’ elsewhere.
  • Literacy at an early age is critical for success. A worldwide finding is that lack of vocabulary has a negative impact on learning
  • Focus on the teacher seems crucial in enabling successful learning
  • Goals should be ‘relative’:
    - education prepares students for situations that don’t exist yet
    - focusing more on having everyone achieving a minimum level can be more effective for a country than increasing the level of top performance
    - how to link global objectives to local challenges for the disadvantaged
  • Education should embed the notion of lifelong learning from the start
In one presentation it was stated that ‘education is as complex as a human being’. This makes us look like psychotherapists that have to strike the right balance between analytical therapies that take a long time but allow the ‘patient’ to change behavior on the basis of a thorough insight in oneself and behavioral therapies where through protocolled actions ‘the patient’ learns to start behaving differently.

Posted by: Gerben Van Lent
Executive director for Knowledge Management,
Market Support and Governance at ETS GLOBAL

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