Schooling for Tomorrow

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

1990-0716 (online)
1990-0724 (print)
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A series of books from the OECD examining certain future trends in education. Recent topics have included personalizing education, demand-sensitive schooling, ICT in schools, and new models for managing schools and systems.

Also available in French
Personalising Education

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Centre for Educational Research and Innovation

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13 Feb 2006
9789264036604 (PDF) ;9789264036598(print)

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Personalisation of education can mean many things and raises profound questions about the purposes of and possibilities for education. What are the policy challenges to be addressed in furthering personalisation? What do the learning sciences, including burgeoning research into brain functioning, have to contribute in pointing the way ahead? What are the constraints imposed by key stakeholders in education systems – including teachers, parents and employers, and how should these be met? Such questions are addressed in this new volume in the OECD's Schooling for Tomorrow series, with contributors from Canada, Denmark, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

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  • Choice and Voice in Personalised Learning
    David Miliband, UK Schools Standards Minister at the time of the London personalisation conference, presents his vision and policy agenda for personalisation of learning. He outlines five components of personalised learning to guide policy development. i) It needs assessment for learning and the use of data and dialogue to diagnose every student’s learning needs. ii) It calls for the development of the competence and confidence of each learner through teaching and learning strategies which build on individual needs. iii) It presupposes curriculum choice which engages and respects students. iv) It demands a radical approach to school organisation and class organisation based around student progress. v) Personalised learning means the community, local institutions and social services supporting schools to drive forward progress in the classroom. He develops the importance of the concepts of "choice" and "voice" as fundament to the personalisation agenda.
  • Personalised Learning? New Insights into Fostering Learning Capacity
    Sanna Järvelä reviews research evidence and clarified key questions relating to personalisation. She concludes that personalisation of learning has become imperative. By this, she does not mean individualised learning nor the opposite of social learning but as an approach in educational policy and practice whereby every student matters, equalising opportunities through learning skills and motivation to learn. She examines seven critical dimensions: i) development of key skills which are often domain-specific; ii) levelling the educational playing field through guidance for improvement of students’ learning skills and motivation; iii) encouragement of learning through "motivational scaffolding"; iv) collaboration in knowledge-building; v) development of new models of assessment; vi) use of technology as a personal cognitive and social tool; vii) the new role of teachers in better integration of education within the learning society.
  • Brain Research and Learning over the Life Cycle

    Spitzer’s argument is that brain research not only shows that we are born for learning and do it for our entire life, but also shows the conditions for successful learning and differences in learning at different stages of life. The time has come, he says, to use this understanding for shaping the learning environments and learning programmes; we can no longer afford to treat the most important resource that we have, our brain, as if we knew nothing about how it works. Thus, it is important to create the conditions for transferring insights from basic studies of learning in brain research to the practice of teaching. His discussion is organised around the following themes: from examples to rules; mechanisms for learning; phases, stages and windows; schooling and learning for life; emotions and learning; the decreasing rate of learning with age; learning, age and wisdom.

  • Personalised Learning and Changing Conceptions of Childhood and Youth

    Hébert and Hartley take the example of Canada as indicative of changing conceptions of youth that occur through societies, shaped by moral, socio-economic, political and legal influences. These include the appearance of a more liberal Christianity, the growth of industrial and agricultural productivity, the spread of literacy and the rise of the middle class, the greater emancipation of women, and enlarged notions of citizenship. Two particular processes – the advent of mass schooling and the post-war development of teenage youth culture in advertising and through the media – have been instrumental in extending childhood and shaping youth. Educational policy makers and researchers have a responsibility to understand conceptions of children and youth and to recognise the forces that shape them and young people must be recognised as whole. Educators are called upon to see beyond broad social representations of children and youth so as to support their strengths, legitimacy, diversity and vitality

  • Policy-making to Promote Personalised Learning
    Ruano-Borbalan traces the history of ideas and knowledge about learning to discuss the issue of "personalization" with particular reference to France. An original characteristic of recent centuries, he argues, has been the development of massive systems to codify and reproduce society and a marked feature of such systems has been the form of their schools, classes and lessons. This is "efficient" when it comes to social reproduction and socialisation into society’s values but not in terms of knowledge acquisition, learning capacity, and autonomy. Because every human story is different, learning reflexes cannot be dictated, in any case not by policy makers. But we can make a variety of activities and knowledge available to learners, in a range of educational situations and then let them decide "on their own", according to their preferences and personalities, how to progress and learn.
  • The Future of Public Services
    Charles Leadbeater argues that personalisation has the potential to reorganise the way public goods and services are created and delivered. Such reorganisation requires exploration of different approaches to personalisation and this chapter explores these: bespoke service, mass customisation, and mass-personalisation. Personalisation through participation allows users a more direct say in the way the service they use is designed, planned, delivered and evaluated. This involves the following steps: intimate consultation: expanded choice: enhanced voice: partnership provision: advocacy: co-production: funding. Personalised learning assumes that learners should be actively engaged in setting their own targets, devising their own learning plans and goals, choosing from among a range of different ways to learn. This implies far-reaching changes in the role of professionals and schools. But the biggest challenge is what it means for inequality: the more that services become personalised, the more that public resources will have to be skewed towards the least well-off.
  • Personalisation
    Personalisation, argue the authors, promises to overcome the uneven results of educational delivery and link innovation in the public sector to the broader transformations in OECD societies. It is not purely a function of choice between alternative supply channels, but of shaping and combining different learning resources and sources of support around personal progression. Bentley and Miller discuss the personalisation divides – demand/supply, public/private. They describe entry points to system-wide change through different questions and issues: universal? diverse? transparent?; learning and teaching – the role of the active learner; learning beyond the classroom – the role of communities; reshaping roles and the workforce; organisation and coordination. The system-wide shift that personalisation could help to stimulate, they conclude, has the potential to be as profound as any transition that public education systems have undertaken before, but this requires both a compelling political narrative and a strategy for distributed change.
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