The fast pace world in which we live challenges us to think differently about the nature of learning and teaching. I’ve been talking a lot this year about the need to move from an improvement agenda to a transformational one. While the transformational agenda is sector blind, it does lie at the core of our mission in Catholic education. When we transform schooling, we transform individuals and society. It calls us back to the real purpose of an education, which is not simply to prepare students to become mere servants of the economy. Rather it is to strengthen relationships with Christ and with each other and to enrich a view of the world in which life is worth living. Education at best provides a solid foundation for all members of society for living life to the full.
At the start of this year, Bishop of Parramatta, Most Reverend Vincent Long Van Nguyen outlined his vision for Catholic Education. It is a vision grounded in the Gospel message of radical inclusion. A radically inclusive school exists to deliver a contemporary education and quality outcomes for all students especially those on the margins of our communities.
Transformation is a journey into never been before territory. It is a prodigious challenge to our imaginations that calls us to continually ask ‘what if and why?’ Transformation is a journey into the deep – deeper relationships, deeper learning, deeper teaching and deeper knowledge. It does not mean launching into the great unknown and hoping for the best. It recognises that we must launch from a solid foundation of evidence, theory and best practice. It challenges all working in education to think creatively, to act courageously and to continually seek more engaging ways of drawing out the capacities, talents and gifts within each child. Education must not only be life-long but it must enable us to grow in wisdom and understanding.
The changes we see in technology and the arrival of artificial intelligence create an urgency to move beyond the status quo into unchartered territory by re-visiting the core questions of what (we teach), who (are our learners) and how (do we engage and inspire all learners).
There are many forces seeking to re-shape the future of schooling including governments who seek a return on their massive investment in schools as well as a workforce fit for the knowledge economy. However, those that are critical to the transformational agenda are teachers who can continually re-focus on the core purpose of education and re-imagine schooling for a new era.