Sustainable development is a concept with an inherent tension. If we look at development as being linked to growth, as we often do. And if we recognize our planet as a closed system, which we often fail to. Then the tension becomes evident--within a closed system, growth can't be sustained indefinitely. Inhabitants of smallRead More
Education for Sustainable Development in Small Island Developing States
Abstract: Education for sustainable development (ESD) is an essential element of the global response to environmental challenges. It helps young people understand and address the impact of global warming,Read More
Below is the text of my presentation to the 18CCEM Ministerial Roundtable on Bridging the Gap Between Policy and Practice in Education for Sustainable Development.
Greetings, honorable ministers and esteemed delegates. I am honoured to have the opportunity to speak with you.
I was invited here to share with you a report I worked on earlier this year, funded by the Commonwealth Secretariat. The report analyzed the implementation of Education for Sustainable Development, or ESD, in Small Island Developing States. This study originated from discussions around the impacts of climate change, to which small states are particularly vulnerable. Recognizing that small states comprise a significant proportion of the member countries of theRead More
The current preoccupation in educational reform seems to be with trying to do the same things we've always done, but better. I'm thrilled to have been invited to speak in a couple of sessions at the 18th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers in Mauritius, on the topic of education's role in sustainable development. Below is the text from the first session, a panel presentatation at the Stakeholders' Forum, looking at skills for the future: "Education for Tomorrow's World: For what are we preparing our young people?" My thesis was that we need to adjust our view of education's relationship to the future. We should not think about education as "preparation for" and try to come up with a list of knowledge and skills for the future (which are destined to be obsolete), but rather, to focus on education as the cultivation of more deeply held dispositions which will help students respond toRead More
aroundsquare is committed to conducting business in a way which delivers benefits at each step. to that end, we're constantly reflecting on questions like who we should be doing business with, from manufacturing partners all the way through to our retail partners. the store that you might see our products in.. those are no accident. we like to support good independent stores, stores which contribute something to the community, stores which care about quality, and care about play.
in addition to making donations of our products to education and childcare centres in the developing world, we also provide special pricing for children's museums, and benefit-driven business which are doing something more than just trying to make a buck.
in keeping with this spirit, we are launching a new program to extend our hand to non-Read More
why does it matter what we let our kids play with? at one level, the answer is obvious... isn't there a big difference between army guys and huggy dolls? but there is more to it than that... at another level entirely, army guys and huggy dolls are basically just two versions of the same thing. they both prescribe a certain kind of play, they both frame the same kind of toy-child relationship, they're both heavily gendered, and completely lacking in imagination. what's more, both are likely to be made from the same cheap materials, mass produced in the same kind of factory, and even advertised on their own tv shows. there is a whole worldview, a whole economic paradigm, and a whole lifestyle embodied in those toys.
the thing about toys is that they are among the first material things that children spend any amount of time interacting with. the quality and character of that interaction isRead More
Following was written in 2005 in the context of the Strengthening Capacity in Basic Education in Western China project.
Multifaceted Classroom Behavior Management
Effective classroom management is critical to an effective learning situation. For classroom management to be successful in an SCI context, it must be approached holistically. Classroom management should emphasize “proactive” strategies which prevent behavior problems from starting, but should also include “reactive” strategies for what to do if problems do occur. Below are some of the aspects of classroom management that should be considered by all teachers.
Pedagogical relationships are the foundation of effective classroom management in anRead More
in the past year, aroundsquare has donated nearly a thousand sets of goodwood deconstruction blocks to small community-based kindergartens in egypt. egypt is going through a transition, and play has a purpose in that transition.
one of the cornerstones of democracy is a citizenry which is engaged and ready to take on the responsibilities that democratic governance demands. as a proponent of real creative play in early childhood, i want to highlight the connection. it's essentially about the way in which a person positions him or herself in relation to the world. it is about learning to engage with the world around us, about gaining a sense of self-efficacy and empowerment, a sense that our actions make a difference.
the types of activities which young children take up do a lot more than what they appearRead More
Capacity development is mostly a racket. The problem is that despite how costly these programs can be, the actual developmental benefits are usually pretty limited. This is particularly the case with training programs and professional development sessions. A great facilitator can make things engaging, participatory and even practical, but at the end of the session, folks return to their jobs and the relevance is immediately eclipsed by other things. Unless we are talking about the really low hanging fruit, not a whole lot actually changes.
Part of the problem is that what these programs set out to deliver is not really what is needed in order to make real changes. Participants tend to be happy when they come out of a session feeling motivated. But motivation is almost never what is holding us back from making changes in our lives. Participants may come out embracing new values, orRead More
The following was written in 2005 in the context of the project Strengthening Capacity in Basic Education in Western China.
5 Balances in Implementing SCI
A variety of tensions inevitably result during any process of change. Many teachers feel these tensions when implementing SCI because it is very different from traditional ways of teaching. Teachers must strive to find the right balance between extremes, in order to mediate these tensions and be as effective as possible in the classroom.
Balance 1: Individual and Group
It is easy to think about a class as one clump, and to forget about their differences. It is a lot harder to keep in mind that each of the students is an individual, with their ownRead More