“These ideas go back to Socrates and Confucius, it’s just that they simply have not been adopted at scale, particularly, in recent times when we have derated the goals of an education to what can be easily measured. And, what can be easily measured can be easily automated. And, now in a world of AI, and for other reasons, we’re being forced to go beyond what can be easily measured and it’s opening up, again, the notion of education of the whole child; which we’ve known for, pretty much, ever but derated in the past 50 years to a mere sub-set.”
My conversation with Charles Fadel took place in the lunch-break of the second day of the Kāhui Ako Leaders Forum in March, earlier this year. Charles was visiting New Zealand as the key-note speaker for the Forum, as well as being in the country to advise our Department of Education. Charles’ visit to these shores was made possible by Brian Annan, Director of Infinity Learning – Pupuke Kāhui Ako’s expert partner – with Brian also pulling the necessary strings to enable our meeting to take place.
Charles, the founder and chairman of the Center for Curriculum Redesign, is a leading international expert in education strategy and policy planning. The Center’s website describes Charles as a “global education thought-leader and futurist, author and inventor” whose work “spans the continuum of schools, higher education and workforce development/lifelong learning.” Charles has consulted with and contributed to education projects in more than thirty countries around the world, including New Zealand, Australia, Finland and the USA. Research by the Center is the cornerstone of the OECD 2030 Learning Framework and, notably for us, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority is a member of its Assessment Research Consortium.
Our discussion provides a glimpse into the more extensive insights which Charles challenged and inspired his audience with at the Forum. It is interesting, I think, that several points he makes here, about the transfer of skills and expertise as an ultimate outcome for education, the increasing need to teach statistics and probability more systematically, along with the importance of educating the whole child, reiterate, sometimes strikingly, observations made by George Han in episode four of this series. As a final point, to have the opportunity to meet and speak with a leading educational figure such as Charles was, for me, both an unforgettable experience and a tremendous honour.