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Reflection Tool 2: The Purpose of Education Matrix

This matrix sets out in broad terms the four historic purposes of education. Each school of thought has some key reading and ‘talking heads’ (in the next section) attached to it to help us grapple with what each of them means in theory and in practice. The matrix will be used to organise our thoughts and will shape our discussions.

he four categories are broad and again the goal is not to pigeon hole thinking but to organise it. 

The first purpose ‘passing on the best that has been thought and said’ relates to those who believe education is about teaching children the wisdom of the great subjects: english, history, science.

The second – ‘preparation for work’ relates to those who believe school is about helping children secure firm transitions to the labour market.

The third ‘developing human potential’ relates to those who want to place the learners own specific attributes at the heart of school.

And the fourth – ‘social action – education is freedom’ relates to those who see school as the way to liberate marginalised people and challenge the status quo.

We will explore each of these philosophies and grapple with how they relate to our own thinking and our own leadership

Before the live session, please reflect about the concrete actions/tasks/interventions you do in your day-to-day work and where they might fit on the Purpose of Education Matrix.