A few weeks back I attended the “Education & Innovation in the 21st century” Conference, organized by the Economist in Athens, Greece. A very interesting agenda with some very inspiring speakers. One of which, was Pasi Sahlberg, an educator, the author of “Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?”, who later on the same day launched his book in Athens. One of my key take aways from his presentation behind Finland’s success was the word TRUST. He said that this is one of the main values of the school system in Finland; trust towards the students, but also towards its administrators and most importantly teachers. In this way, they are able to support each other, to develop themselves without the fear of external evaluators, but through a fair, objective and well-structured system that is based on mutual trust.
Later on, at his book presentation, it was mentioned by one of the presenters that Finland was able to bring the change required and improve its school system significantly over the past years, because they were able to find the disruption key. Or in other words, implement that change that was a. seen that would bring less reaction and b. seen that would have the most impact. It was also stressed that this “disruption key” as I call it, is unique to the context, therefore should not be copied and implemented to other cultures and educational systems without thorough thought and discussion.
I am one of the people that believe that a deep change is brought when there is a break from the past and the wrong-doings. I believe that it is so much broken in our educational system globally that in a lot of cases that an approach “starting from scratch” is necessary; a deep systemic and holistic change, that will start from answering the question about the purpose of education and then designing an experience, which is free from space and time, flexible and adjustable to the person and the context. However, in this process, we should not be missing all the great things that currently take place and are seriously disrupting the system, such as the way that technology was enabled the accessibility of education, gaming, alternative/experiential learning etc.
So, in this attempt to find the disruption key, I think it’s a question worth discussing and reflecting upon: what is that element that will meet less reaction but will have most impact?