Education today has more in common with the nineteenth-century industrial age than with the twenty-first century. It is fragmented and compartmentalized, clinging to a factory approach to learning. We need to move away from mass education towards pluralism and planetary sensibility. Knowledge is evolving, consciousness is evolving, and education no longer sits comfortably in the realm of economics: it is an integral part of culture and should be treated as such. This essay considers what today’s educators think about these challenges. What role should education play? How can education transform itself to reflect the increasing complex world around it? The author proposes the notion of global knowledge futures, a shift away from the reductionism of the concept global knowledge economy. She argues for living, pluralistic approaches to education that are founded on more complex, self-reflective and organic ways of thinking. This shift in paradigm will be vital to help young people prepare for life in the twenty-first century. In summary, the systemic knowledge shifts of the last century are facets of complex processes that are as yet little understood in terms of their significance for the future of ideas and the culture of education. These diverse, independent, yet interconnected movements pave the way for the emergence of more living and pluralistic approaches to education and knowledge futures. Education researchers, practitioners and policymakers need to take serious account of these dramatic shifts in ideas and ways of organising knowledge. More complex, self-reflective, organic ways of thinking will be vital in re-shaping education so young people are better equipped for the complexity, paradox and unpredictability of life in the twenty-first century.
Research Professor on society, culture, art, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, neuroscience, autopoiesis, self-organization, complexity, systems, networks, rhizomes, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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