Schools urged to broaden perspective

Joe Bower said he fears that schools will continue to teach in a 20th century way to 21st century kids.

Joe Bower said he fears that schools will continue to teach in a 20th century way to 21st century kids.

“We have to prepare our kids not for our past, but for their future,” said Bower, who is the professional development chair with the Red Deer Public Alberta Teachers’ Association Local 60.

What education should look like in the future will be discussed at a public meeting on Feb. 10 in Red Deer.

Dennis Shirley, who is the professor of education at the Lynch School of Education at Boston College and co-author of the book titled The Fourth Way, will speak about how assessments in schools have narrowed the curriculum and made teachers and policy makers steer away from innovation.

Pasi Sahlberg, who is an educator, researcher and school improvement activist from Finland, will talk about how the bureaucratic and standards-driven model of school doesn’t highlight the talents of students and the skills they will need in the future.

Stephen Murgatroyd, a former professor of management and applied psychology at Athabasca University, will moderate the event.

Titled Real Learning First Through the Fourth Way: Learning our way to the next Red Deer, the dialogue is open to the public. It is sponsored by the Red Deer Public and Red Deer Catholic Locals and the Alberta Teachers’ Association in partnership with Red Deer College and the Red Deer Advocate.

Bower said he hopes that people feel they are part of the dialogue. “Top down directives, in something as important as education, don’t work. We’re starting to see that more and more. Something as important as education has to be part of the democratic process,” Bower said.

Kelly Aleman, president of Red Deer Public ATA Local 60, said things are changing and technology is pushing change faster than ever.

“If we’re not looking forward progressively and making change, then we run the risk of falling behind and doing a real disservice to our kids,” Aleman said.

The dialogue is taking place at Red Deer Lodge at 4311 49th Ave. in Red Deer from 7 to 9:30 p.m., with a no-host bar reception to follow. Tickets are $10 each or a table of six for $50, with proceeds going to the Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter. Tickets will be available at the door or by contacting Jennifer Bahler through email at or by phone at 403-505-5889.