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Working with the UN to Bring Quality Education to the Forefront.

Updated: Apr 29, 2020

If Education Could be Anything, What Would You Want For Your Child?

As a mum of three primary school aged children I am all too acutely aware of the challenges children, educators and parents face to ensure every child has the opportunity for a quality education.

As I am also a Psychotherapist specialising in the process of Psychodrama, an active process that allows the participant to connect with their thinking, feeling and action in the moment, I feel it is really important to acknowledge the role that informal education has played in history, before the emergence of our now established more structured formal approach. An emergence of the two approaches is a necessary step to ensure all children have the necessary skills to adapt in our incredibly fast changing world.

Informal education describes a lifelong process a person/community undergo to discover the world around them and explore themselves as they acquire values, attitudes, skills, and knowledge from their daily encounters. Hence informal education becomes a way of life. W. Lufty & S. Page-Cameron.

I had the privilege of writing a paper on this very subject with my co author Walid Lufty, a behavioural scientist, called Informal Education as Twenty-Second-Century Future Education. It has recently been published in the UN Encylcopaedia for Sustainable Growth and Development. I feel really proud of our collaboration.

Walid and me in working in Singapore together for the first time.

Here is an excerpt from our paper, as a contribution to the The UN's call for quality education for all, the SDG4.

As education has moved from a previously informal, universally accessible structure practiced by indigenous tribes throughout the world to the modern rigid, didactic model, many students are being left behind. Rapid advances in technology are playing their part in the education revolution creating a plethora of opportunities while uncovering complex new challenges. With the daunting speed of change, educators are discovering the benefits and limitations of new technologies in real time, often in front of a class of students. More specifically, schools are grappling with discipline challenges arising from a need to regulate the use of personal devices within increasingly younger cohorts; devices loaded with psycho-stimulating reward centered features that may cause addictions and often either dilute real-life social interactions or encourage only virtual ones. What is the counterbalance to equilibrate the student? One answer is to allow history to inform the future. The authors contend that the solutions are in the bedrock of thousands of years of indigenous informal teaching methods. The authors offer sociometry and psychodrama as effective ways to convey the benefits of the ancient informal education and blend these with the more formal education approach. Psychodrama sees students engage in meaningful relationships with others and their environment. It helps to develop skills in empathy, spontaneity, creativity, and self-awareness through action. By integrating the thinking, feeling, and action in a whole-person approach to learning, students will gain a deeper sense of self and others that sprouts wisdom. Read more

My next project with the group Musical Sprouts, of which I am one of the creators and performers, will be bringing all of these ideas into focus for young children as we explore the foundations the empathy through the use of theatre, music, and the philosophy of psychodrama. We are collaborating with the City of Yarra, and have been funded by VicHealth, and will be using informal and creative learning processes to help children develop an embodied understanding of respectful relationships and gender equity . We call it The Empathy Project and we are in the process of brainstorming a new show and educational resource for children, educators and parents.

Our pilot project will be delivered in February 2020 so watch this space. I will be keeping you up to date with our developments as they happen.

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