Questioning Education Moving from What and How to Why and Who
In the post-pandemic world, how can we rethink the future of education as a system, process, and tradition to make lasting changes? This thought-provoking book by Sean Slade reminds us that education prepares students for their futures and yet has become stuck in the past. Slade asks us to move from our focus on education as a content-delivery system and instead reflect on its overarching purpose(s). He shows how we can shift our systems and our curriculum discussions away from beginning with the What and How, and instead start with the Why and Who.
Utilizing the metaphor of an educational solar system, he explains how fundamental questions we ask ourselves influence subsequent actions and subsequent questions. The book outlines how this is different from current trends such as PBL and service learning, how it can work in the content areas, how it can make learning relevant and meaningful, and even how it can improve tolerance and community. Throughout the book, Slade dares us to not just ponder these topics but to take the first step of real action.
Whether you’re a teacher or a leader, you will be inspired to reconsider what school is and what you have the power to do about it, so we can all play a role in improving ourselves, our systems, and our world.
Part 1: The Educational Solar System 1. Changing the Educational Solar System 2. A Journey Through the New Educational Solar System 3. The First Step is Always the Hardest Part 2: Diving Deeper into Each Question or Visiting Each Planet: From Why to Who to Where and When to How and What 4. Why 5. Who 6. Where and When 7. How and What Part 3: A Flipped Solar System
"Sean Slade's new jewel of a book, entitled Questioning Education, is one of the freshest and most original contributions to the school improvement literature in many years. Slade draws upon his many years of experience as a change leader in settings around the world to probe the deepest questions about learning and the purpose of education in our troubling times. Not just a critical diagnosis of where past reforms have gone wrong, Questioning Education points us in bold and yet attainable new directions. This truly is indispensable reading for every thinking educator."
—Dennis Shirley, Duganne Faculty Fellow and Professor, Lynch School of Education and Human Development, Boston College, and author of The New Imperatives of Educational Change: Achievement with Integrity
"At a time when we’re facing immense challenges in our world, big ideas in education are back. After decades of prioritizing incremental performance gains in measurable outcomes, everyone, not just academics, or even the teaching profession, is asking where our schools are going, what are they for, and how can they help our kids face the future and make something of it. Sean Slade has the perfect book that is up to this task. With sweeping mastery of neuroscience, social studies, business thinking, and more, combined with up-to-date knowledge of the best things that are happening in our schools, Slade gives us a glimpse of the future and a shot at how our schools can shape it for the better. The time for transformation has come. Questioning Education will inspire you to be part of it."
—Andy Hargreaves, Emeritus Professor, Boston College
"It is now widely understood that we need to transform the purpose and practice of education everywhere if we are to stand any chance of thriving together (with each other and the planet). But for many people the idea of transformation remains rather distant and vague. And even for those who are fully convinced of the need for transformation, it can be difficult to know where to start in effecting change. Sean Slade’s book, Questioning Education, is one of the rare resources that provides a clear and reasoned approach for anyone who wants to get practical about transforming their school or education system. Whether you are new to the idea of transformation or a seasoned veteran, there are ideas here that will help you and your community effect change that is rooted in your deepest ‘why.'"
—Ross Hall, co-founder The Weaving Lab