Each action we make as global educators shapes future outcomes across our sector—and in a post-pandemic world. Our opening keynote speaker at the Global Education Summit is an expert in policy and lifelong learning activities that support skill development, innovation and sustainable growth in global education, and shared with us his insights for the future of global education.
Dr. Borhene Chakroun is the Director of Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems at UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and joined us virtually from France for Rosedale International Education’s inaugural Global Education Summit on November 18—an event with 1,317 attendees across 66 countries.
In his opening keynote, Dr. Chakroun noted if we are to advance an entire generation of learners that have been impacted by a global pandemic, we must be bold in the defence of our obligations to build a more inclusive world, driven by our ideals on human rights, equity, inclusion and gender equality. Technology is disrupting the way we live, work and learn, and preparing for transformative change is critical to how we will re-imagine global education.
Students trust experienced educators to guide and support learning as they discover new skills and create solutions for our modern and technology-driven world. At Rosedale, we understand that reimagining education includes awareness and appreciation of sector challenges—while acknowledging opportunities for collaboration and growth. To deliver impactful education, we must commit to innovative and agile learning solutions and the use of differentiated resources, so each learner is in a position to learn with methods that well-support their individual growth. Traditional education environments are constrained by curriculum development, time and cost—and often, difficulties in the traditional education space stem from how we educate. We’re proud of our work to shift the landscape with development of ed tech and co-operative solutions that advance teaching and learning, equipping us to deliver life-changing learning outcomes and lifelong success. But what does that mean for global educators—how do we shift the global landscape in its thinking and move beyond rote learning and outdated methodologies?
Five areas to enact change, shifting perspectives and paradigms in global education
Dr. Chakroun believes the solutions will arise from our community of global educators. He says, “A new social contract for education needs to allow us to think differently about learning and the relationships between students, teachers, knowledge and the world. This is our chance to work together to find new solutions not explored in the past, and open doors of lifelong learning opportunities to all, and promote the cause of sustainable development and reclaim the dream of leaving no one behind.”
In discussing UNESCOs General Conference, also in November, Dr. Chakroun examined how we might call on other global educators to forge this new social contract for education—one that is governed by inclusive and quality global education. As part of the International Commission on Education report, the Futures of Education Report was launched by UNESCO after a two-year undertaking with more than one million educators consulted. The Futures of Education Report offered five specific areas to enact change, areas that—when implemented—will greatly shift perspectives and paradigms in education. They include:
- Pedagogy: Pedagogy needs to move from a focus on teacher-driven lessons centred on individual accomplishment and instead emphasize cooperation, collaboration and solidarity.
- Curricula: Curricula are often organized as a grid of subjects and need to shift to emphasize higher order thinking, ecological, intercultural and interdisciplinary learning.
- Teaching: Teaching needs to move from being considered an individual practices to becoming further professionalized as a collaborative endeavour.
- Schools: Schools are necessary global institutions that need to be safeguarded. However, we should move from the imposition of universal models and reimagine schools, including architectures, spaces, times, timetables and student groupings in diverse ways.
- In all times and spaces of learning: We should move from thinking of education as mostly occurring in schools and at certain ages, and instead welcome and expand educational opportunities everywhere, for everyone.
Four tenets of a well-rounded education
Also speaking at the conference, Michelle Cui, Founder and CEO of Rosedale International Education, noted she believes these five focus areas of pedagogy, curricula, teaching, schools, and education in all times and spaces deeply match her four tenets of a well-rounded education: exposure, respect, empowerment and ownership. Reflecting on her own K-12 and early university experiences, she felt a deep mismatch between the learning she received and her own interests through a traditional education stream—and that receiving an education, instead of being an active participant, will not benefit future learners or future leaders. As learners take ownership of an education that is connected to their interests and desires, they develop their mindset, as well as knowledge and skills, that better support them to set and achieve goals that lead to a fulfilling life. Ms. Cui notes that a well-rounded education is comprised of four tenets:
- Exposure: Education needs to provide young learners opportunities to experience a world that is bigger than what they see around them. Exposure and exploration help young learners visualize what they want for their own lives, what role they can play in a globally connected world, and develop an inner drive for life-long learning. Exposure also helps build understanding—understanding different perspectives, diversity, context—understanding drives empathy and collaboration, leading to solutions that resolve world issues.
- Respect: Education must respect individual learners as a unique entity and value individual learning styles, interests and desires. We must acknowledge that each learner has strengths and merits, and understand their limitations in order to differentiate teaching and learning that is suitable to each learner, and creates an asset-based educational pathway and individualized growth plan, so students can connect learning to the career, and other aspirations, they developed through exposure.
- Empowerment: Students need to be equipped with the discipline, interdisciplinary knowledge and higher order thinking skills that go beyond knowledge acquisition and simple application. It’s critical for school education to inspire students and develop their capabilities through analyzing complex problems, creating innovative solutions, and designing new approaches to solve real-world problems—to become a designer of a prosperous economic and social future world.
- Ownership: When students take ownership of their learning and lives, their individuality is respected and encouraged, and they are empowered to advance their goals on their terms. Education should reflect a collaboration among students, schools and families, centred on student choice.
Exposure, respect, empowerment and ownership are the rationale of Rosedale’s Transformative Approach to Learning, which is the guiding principle of development of education solutions, programs, and services at Rosedale.
Ms. Cui says, “We must not simply make more new requests to our teachers and school leaders, but instead, we advocate more sector players to join Rosedale in building infrastructure and supporting systems that empower and equip teachers and school leaders with quality educational assets, advanced technology, learning analytics, and management tools. Our teachers and school leaders must be well-supported with more bandwidth and instruments to prepare each student with an individual learning strategy and pathway to success. As global educators, we must ensure all learners flourish.”
Embracing and engaging change in global education
UNESCO and Rosedale International Education have a collaborative goal to promote and enhance collaboration in the education sector, promote continuous development, and ensure sustainable growth in global education—for every learner.
Dr. Chakroun says, “I believe we have reason to be full of hope…we are at the point in our collective history where we have the greatest access ever to knowledge and tools that enable us to collaborate. The potential for engaging humanity in creating better futures together has never been greater. The pandemic was an opportunity for creativity, innovation and solidarity—including in education. We all witnessed how teachers and school leaders worked to reach out to their students leveraging a mix of technologies. We have seen cooperation among teachers, learners and parents. We have seen local, national, regional and global expressions and actions of solidarity. To make this happen, this requires policy commitment, leadership, partnerships and systems that are able to offer lifelong learning opportunities for all—and all means all.”
Hear Dr. Chakroun’s full address to the Global Education Summit delegates by visiting our Global Education Summit webpage or watching on YouTube by clicking the button below.