Lessons learnt from this decade

By Greg Whitby, 18 December 2019
Greg Whitby AM is Executive Director of Schools, Diocese of Parramatta.


Weekly Column from the Executive Director of Schools, Diocese of Parramatta

Top trends of the ‘20s will soon be front page news as we prepare for the new year, and a new decade. So what will the ‘20’s bring in teaching and learning? I’m no futurist, but we should all be hoping it’s not more of the same!

How has school changed this decade? Technology has opened up access to information and new opportunities for learning and teaching including using artificial intelligence and virtual reality. More classrooms are being designed with the learner in mind. There are more choices for young people once they finish high school. Schools have begun thinking differently about how best to support students with disability. I’d really like to think that we’re getting better at hearing students’ voices too, particularly in relation to what they’re learning.

Perhaps we need to consider how the world has changed and whether we have kept the pace. For example, how have we updated what we’re doing to prepare students for what the workplace is like now? That’s why I think that there’s a lot to be said for the focus on skills that we’re seeing more of at school. In a changing world, there’s a lot to be said for building strengths in teamwork, communication and creativity.

When I started school in the 1950s, there was a major education review in progress in Australia. This resulted in reforms that gave us an extra year of high school, more comprehensive and co-educational schools and the HSC as we know it. We need to recognise that times have changed again, and so must the way we school kids now.

I’d like to think that we’ve reached the end of an era in education. We owe it to students starting school in 2020 and beyond to make sure that their learning is relevant and that our system is fair (especially for students starting out on the backfoot). After all, these little learners will be our leaders before we know it!

Greg Whitby AM
Executive Director of Schools – Diocese of Parramatta


Greg Whitby is the Executive Director of Schools - Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta
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