Thinking is not the intellectual reproduction of what already exists… Open thinking points beyond itself. Theodor Adorno (1998, pp. 291-292)
As Susan Adler notes in this issue, we’ve been hearing for some time now that we have to do school differently. But we still seem mired in traditional or outmoded school cultures, classroom practices, and ways of thinking about education and society. Sir Ken Robinson’s popular video on educational paradigms raises the notion that current systems of education remain grounded in Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution-era modes of thinking that still prioritize rationalization (classifying, categorizing, sorting, etc.), standardization, competition and consumption, hierarchical authority structures, and the supervision, monitoring and regulation of teachers and students. Robinson argues that this industrial model of education tends to lead to conformity, standardized curriculum and assessment, and an input-output model of teaching and learning. These ways of thinking and the educational structures and practices they seem to perpetuate may not help prepare young people for the 21st century, despite the best intentions of reform efforts.