Book corner: Rethinking Education

The latest in the NoNonsense book series questions the concept of knowledge and the ‘commodification’ of education

Education and learning as we know it remains unchallenged – the role of teacher is still commonly seen as a transmitter of information from themselves to student. What if students were allowed to think freely rather than meet production-line standards? What if teachers’ performance was not assessed based on their pupils’ test results?

Rethinking Education, written by Adam Unwin and John Yandell, asks these questions from the outset.

Published by New Internationalist, the 139-page pocket-sized book tackles the role of schools, use of technology, curriculum and more, concluding with alternatives to the traditional education model. The format is clearly structured and easy to read, making it convenient to dip in and out of on a commute or lunch break. The book is text-heavy but makes use of several diagrams and cartoons to illustrate theories.

The book is undeniably easy for teachers to relate to, as Unwin and Yandell make frequent references to common classroom scenarios, and give background to important developments in education policy.

As well as traditional teaching pedagogy, the book tackles the huge role technology now plays in our schools. ‘We are in a period of unprecedented, rapid and profound change in the technologies of communication and representation,’ it says. ‘The extraordinary growth of the internet and mobile technologies has allowed more people very quick access to information.’ Other chapters explore the nature of curriculum, social inequality and global ‘neoliberalism’.

In short, Rethinking Education is a perfect quick-start guide on teaching, learning and policy.


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