Kelvin Smythe: When Pooh and Christopher Robin Went Searching for a 21st Century Education

By dianeravitch

Kelvin Smythe is an educator and blogger in New Zealand who left the education system when the ideas of the New Right took over. He has since been a critic and an activist.

A friend Down Under sent me one of his recent writings, in which Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet and Christopher Robin go searching for a 21st Century Education.

But first a bit about Smythe. He wrote this about his views:

Kelvin Smythe makes a plea for teachers to see behind the commodification of education, the managerialism, the data gathering, the claims of new knowledge, the fads, the array of electronics to what teaching is really about – key interactions between teacher, child, and what is being learnt. He knows that many of his concerns about education, his aspirations for education, his style of writing about them will be dismissed as out-of-date. His claim, though, is that these key interactions are the essence of what teaching should be, and are timeless.

In the story he tells about Pooh and friends, there is this beginning:

Just as they came to the Six Pine Trees, Pooh looked around to see that nobody else was listening, and said in a very solemn voice: ‘Piglet, I have decided something.’

‘What have you decided Pooh?’

‘I have decided to catch a 21st Century Education.’

Piglet asked, ‘But what does a 21st Century Education look like? Then continued thoughtfully: ‘Before looking for something, it is wise to ask someone what you are looking for before you begin looking for it.’

Smith then observes:

We are, it seems, getting ourselves tied in knots about something called 21st century education – before looking for it, as Piglet suggests, it might be wise to find out what we are looking for.

This could be done in respect to how it might differ from what went before, how …read more

Source: Diane Ravitch Common Core