I find it fascinating how the words and emphasis and even inclusion of education keeps changing.

So UNESCO are putting peace education first- it’s no wonder really.

But it makes me think about some of the questions I have been asked recently. It also makes me wonder what is the right question we should be asking ourselves currently.

There seems to be a thread about the ‘new’. For example I was asked why I had not mentioned new educational theories.

When I asked for an example I was given ‘scaffolding’, which comes from Vygotsky who died in 1934. He built on the work of Piaget and although he didn’t use the word scaffolding, Bruner and others continued the work. Bruner was a cognitive scientist interested in education. He liked hierarchies such as Blooms and felt we should not think of the brain as a computer. He died in 2016 aged 100 and began his scaffolding work in 1967! Not new then.

Another question I was asked recently is how is education FOR sustainable development now changed. That one threw me to be honest! Then I reflected on the words that seem popular now e.g. transformative and regenerative. If you dig into what people understood originally, the Stephen Sterlings, the John Huckles and the Peter Martins who did a lot of the original thinking, ESD meant transformative and regenerative.

Instead of looking for ‘new’ theories or labels perhaps we should respect the builders of ESD and keep developing practice and sharing evidence of what is transformative. That would strengthen our work rather that pit label against label or organisation against organisation.

So in this week, let’s celebrate and share where we have come from, what we have learned and what we know works for change and changemakers.
Maybe a time to reflect on this? How about this: Out in the Field Retreat for Teachers

Or the education reflections about COP28? This event at UCL is an opportunity to explore just that. COP28 Reflections: Education, Engagement & Action for Climate Empowerment 

Is it reflecting in your purpose or is it the perfect policy/advocacy/platform?

And the right question? Over to you….

Ann Finlayson, January 2024