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The Purpose of Education


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This is a lecture given to Year 4 students on a teacher education programme in Plymouth, UK.

Published in: Education
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The Purpose of Education

  1. The Purpose of Education (and how it can be transformed) Steve Wheeler
  3. knowledgeor wisdom?
  4. Surface Learning Deep Learning Marton and Säljö (1976)
  5. DataENG InformationAGEM KnowledgeENT Wisdom Transformation
  6. Knowledge KnowledgeKnowing that Declarative ComprehensionWisdomKnowing how Procedural ApplicationTransformation AnalysisKnowing why Critical Synthesis Evaluation
  8. Skills students need for business• Critical thinking/Problem solving• Leadership and vision• Agility/Adaptability• Initiative/Entreprenuerial• Effective Communication Skills• Access and Analysis of Information• Curiosity/Imagination Tom Wagner (Harvard University)
  9. The goal of education“If you think education is expensive… try ignorance.” – Derek Bok
  10. What’s the best thing about school? – my friends
  11. What’s the worst thing about school? – being treated like you’re an idiot
  12. Doctors save lives.Teachers make lives.
  13. The Goal of Education“The goal of education is to enrich the lives of students while producing articulate, expressive thinkers and lifelong learners that are socially responsible, resilient, and active citizens of the world. Education is about teaching students, not subjects.” – Dave Truss
  14. “Education allows children to develop the skills and Steve Wheeler, University of Plymouth, 2010 confidence they need to strengthen their societies, break the cycle of poverty and build peace in their communities.” - Save the Children
  15. “We all need tocare more abouthow the children ofthe world arebeing educated.”(Steve WheelerLearning with ‘e’s:February 2010)
  16. Does education need transformation? "In large states public education Steve Wheeler, University of Plymouth, 2010 will always be mediocre, for the same reason that in large kitchens the cooking is usually bad." - Nietzsche Source: Chambers English Dictionary
  17. Factory education model? Synchronisation Steve Wheeler, University of Plymouth, 2010Compartmentalisation Batch processing Standardisation
  18. Personalised Learning? Steve Wheeler, University of Plymouth, 2010
  19. Steve Wheeler, University of Plymouth, 2010 is changing for young people as they experience self-directedlearning, (mostly outside school) about things that interest them. Source:
  20. Young people’s out- of-school experiences with technology can Steve Wheeler, University of Plymouth, 2010 mean that students find the presentation of school curriculum less challenging, less relevant and less engaging. Source:
  21. “For the first time we are preparing Steve Wheeler, University of Plymouth, 2010 students for a future we cannot clearly describe.” – David Warlick
  22. The pace of change isacceleratingHow will we keep up with it?
  23. Transformation…• …to change people or things Steve Wheeler, University of Plymouth, 2010 completely, espe cially improving their appearance or usefulness• …to convert one form of energy Source: Banksy to another
  24. Fair measures? Assessment of, or for, learning?
  25. Source:
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  27. Source:
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  30. Ipsative assessment
  31. "In the times of rapidchange, learnersinherit theEarth, while thelearned findthemselvesbeautifully equippedto deal with a worldthat no longer exists." Eric Hoffer
  32. We dont needto reform thesystem. Weneed to replacethe system.~ Alvin Toffler
  33. Learning Styles? Steve Wheeler, University of Plymouth, 2010“There are as many learning styles as there are people.” – Wheeler (2009)
  34. VAK model Visual Seeing and reading Auditory Hearing and speakingKinaesthetic Touching and doing
  35. Multi-modal learning...? Auditory Visual Kinaesthetic
  36. ...or Confucius repurposed? I hear, I know Auditory Visual KinaestheticI see, I remember I do, I understand
  37. Situated Learning I hear, I know Cognition Deeper Auditory Learning Visual KinaestheticI see, I remember I do, I understand Memory Meta Cognition
  38. I cannot teach anyone. All I can do is make them think.Education – drawingout the potential of each individual (Educere)
  39. Doctors save lives.Teachers make lives.
  40. “We need diversity of thought in the world to face the new challenges.” - Sir Tim Berners-LeeHere are some strategies to consider…
  41. Be creative“You can beimaginative all daylong and never doanything. To becreative you have todo something.Creativity is appliedimagination”.– Sir Ken Robinson
  42. Join all nine dots using four straight lines. Do nottake your pen from the paper and do not go backover any lines.
  43. Thinking outside the box
  44. A man enters a field with an unopened package and dies. Why?
  45. A man enters a field with an unopened package and dies. Why? Lateral thinking
  46. Look for the teachable moments
  47. Step outside your comfort zoneAll learningbegins when ourcomfortableideas turn out tobe inadequate.- John Dewey
  48. Get yourself a vision “It’s not easy being blind, but it must be tragic when you can see, but you have no vision.” - Helen Keller
  49. Positive Deviance“Somewhere in yourorganization, groups ofpeople are already doingthings differently andbetter. To create lastingchange, find areas ofpositive deviance andfan their flames.”- Pascale & Sternin(Harvard Business Review)
  50. Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time. - Rabindranath Tagore
  51. What will it take totransform education?
  52. Go and be crazy