10 October 2022

The essence of the change is to go beyond the comfort zone.

"There is one world - let's learn to look at it as a whole, through the lens of various subjects, and then instill this approach in the education system. And although the school does not like sudden changes - it is worth fighting for a better future for our children" - said Jarosław Kordziński, a longtime teacher, educator and trainer of social competences in an interview with HTT.

Author: Justyna Pokojska

Analysis

“The world is one –  let’s learn to look at it as a whole, through the lens of various subjects, and then instill this approach in the education system. And, although school is not fond of sudden changes, a better future for a children is worth fighting for” – said Jarosław Kordziński, a longtime teacher, educator and trainer of social competences in an interview with HTT.

School prepares you for life

The first dozen years is a crucial period in a child’s life – one which permanently shapes their personality and attitudes. School plays a key role in this process as a space for transferring knowledge, and above all – educating a generation of happy and fulfilled people who are aware of their strengths and are able to use them effectively in adult life. At HTT, we believe that the aim of formal education should be to create favorable conditions for students to acquire and develop universal competences that will enable them to live a responsible and efficient life in society. What should the school teach then? Readiness for continuous learning (Lifelong Learning) and facing various challenges, the ability to cooperate and communicate in a group, as well as consciously constructing the child’s relationship with the world, nature and  their own body – just to name a few.

Meanwhile, as shown by years of observation, the role of the school today is primarily to prepare young people for exams and earning credits, which is a big mistake – Kordziński said. The point is for education to create opportunities for development and equip children with the ability to think holistically, formulate questions and think outside the box. Each of us learns differently, we need slightly different tools and methods of assimilating content – the expert argued. The quintessence of school should therefore be the freedom to shape your own curriculum, make independent educational choices, even if not always accurate.

The common denominator is soft skills

As emphasized in the discussion by the members of the HTT team, knowledge is by definition interdisciplinary. It is impossible to teach subjects in isolation, without in-depth reflection on their multidimensional context. Learning mathematics doesn’t solely consist in acquiring the knowledge of numbers, but most of all, its goal is to develop and hone the ability to solve complex problems, including those of everyday life. The world is a whole, irreducible to separate, individual parts. Therefore, in order to respond to real challenges of the modern world, school teaching must be based on a holistic approach, immersed in humanism. The essence of the human experience boils down to our soft skills. It is by their means that all other competences are acquired and implemented in life, including strictly specialized (so-called “hard”) skills. Learning is the process of acquiring and / or discovering skills that will become a ticket to a fulfilled life. Jean Piaget, a supporter of the constructivist approach, postulated that children should be allowed as much freedom as possible in shaping their own development path. I believe that this is the right direction of thinking about education – concluded Kordziński.

The place of Interdisciplinary Subject (IDS) in schools

Instilling an interdisciplinary way of teaching in schools, however, requires the creation of a dedicated space that allows both students and teachers to learn about the new perspective and understand it in practice. From my own experience, I can say that introducing any new science to school must be associated with the creation of a separate subject – argued Jarosław Kordziński. In addition, the subject, placed within the school curriculum, must be built around school procedures, including, inter alia, verification criteria, adapted to the intended learning outcomes. Which raises the question: what should be assessed – the specific subject knowledge, whether or not the student has acquired the key soft skills from the perspective of his development and the ability to cooperate with others? – wondered the Expert. According to Kordziński, the issue of adequate validation of the new way of teaching subjects in primary schools seems to be one of the more serious challenges resulting from the implementation of an interdisciplinary methodology of working with children.

Change that benefits everyone

In the course of changing education towards a holistic, interdisciplinary paradigm, one more step seems to be necessary – including all the interested parties in the process of developing new rules. Teachers, as advocates of the new approach to the way of educating both young people in schools (and beyond) and themselves as well as students, who ultimately are the main agents of this educational revolution. A revolution that, in the long run, will benefit society as a whole.

Effective and responsible students, who understand the world around them, but also – who know their place in it and are able to cooperate with others to make it an even better place to live – are the cornerstone of the educational change that we all look forward to.