Home' Independence : Independence Vol 33 No 1 May 2008 Contents 24 Independence Volume 33 No. 1
A curriculum that would initiate and take
advantage of this paradigm shift would
be composed of the elements described in
Figure 2. Central to this is a concept based
curriculum which would provide the under-
standing required to live and work in the
21st century, continually adapting to emer-
ging ideas and applying inquiry learning
processes to learn how to find and synthe-
sise information within complex multi-
media information environments. Via this
process learners learn how to solve prob-
lems and challenges that occur every day.
A curriculum that relies on remembering
arcane knowledge from a bygone era and
regurgitating it via trivial testing regimes
has no place in the 21st century!
To be effective lifelong learners, learners
require great language skills, an understan-
ding of effective thinking skills and the
ability to reflect metacognitively on their
own learning. And they require educators
to hand over the ownership of learning
to the learner rather than controlling and
limiting the learner's learning journey.
It does not matter how much money gov-
ernments pump into the present education
paradigm system, there will be no leaps in
capability until they adopt this new para-
digm. Once education systems grasp the
critical nature of the paradigm shift and
invest in it, only then will we re-engage
our learners and only then will they en-
joy an unparalleled measure of success
which up to now has simply been an
Doing nothing is simply not a choice --
unless you wish to deliberately endow
learners with a dysfunctional set of com-
petencies, skills, knowledge and beliefs
about learning which are now almost
totally irrelevant in the 21st century.
I do not believe anyone wishes that.
You can make a difference, you can change
the world, and you can do this by syner-
gistically working with your own gifts and
talents to make that difference. Being syn-
ergetic involves recognising the unique
combination of gifts and talents that every
individual has and working with these to
bring out the genius within. The amazing
thing is that when you do this, life is no
longer about working, it is about fulfilling
the potential, fulfilling the dream placed
within you, and there is no greater dream
machine than the vocation of education.
Education is about focusing on learning
not remembering. Suddenly you are not
tired, but energised and ready to make a
difference in other people's lives, to bring
them joy, to challenge what they thought
their world was about and empower them
to make a difference in the lives of others.
For the first time in education history we
can realistically teach learners to know
and understand, and what is more we are
in a position to recognise wisdom as a
crucial element within education. We are
in a position to harness the passion of the
The key task for schools therefore is to
expose young people to as many different
opportunities as possible so that they can
discover for themselves what they are in-
herently good at; what they would do,
even if they were told not to do it; what
they are passionate about.
Many adults today will tell you they don't
have a particular passion. Ask some of
them, 'What are you passionate about?'
and you will find few can verbalise an
answer to this question immediately, if at
all. This is extremely sad. Fulfilling the
potential of the gifts and talents we have
is what we have to offer the world, and
the world needs every single one of your
Mark Treadwell is an internationally renowned
speaker who has consistently predicted many
of the education trends that school systems are
experiencing now. His notes and resources are
available online at http://www.i-learnt.com and
http://www.teachers-work.com. His latest book
is Whatever! The Conceptual Era & the Revo-
lution of School v2.0, published in March 2008.
Mark is also a member of the New Zealand Min-
istry of Education Curriculum Review Group.
He will be ACEL's travelling scholar in June-
August 2008. For more information on Mark's
ACEL workshops email firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 Neil Postman in Technopoly: The
Surrender of Culture to Technology. New
York: Vintage Books (1993).
2 This attitude was first identified by
Thomas Zengotita. See page 15 in Mediated:
How the Media Shapes Your World and
the Way You Live in It. New York:
Figure 2. The global curriculum framework to drive the new education paradigm
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