There is an interesting discussion about sustainability on Radio NZ National in which some good points on the values promoted by education are raised.
Particularly: Bronwyn Hayward discusses the results of some research she has been involved in bilingual schools. She explains that children in bilingual schools (bilingual and kura programmes) talk differently about their community than children in the mainstream, or English medium program. They still use collective words (we hui together; we talk together, etc.), she explains; kids in the English speaking program, in contrast, are “speaking about ‘my street’, ‘my place’.” She refers to them as children of the market and describes how these little kids are overwhelmed with worries at the moment (especially kids about ten, eleven, twelve) and how they’re worried about big stuff “but we’ve taken away from their imagination the ability to think collectively to solve it. So they really think that they have to do it on their own. And if they’re first generation migrant children, they don’t even think ‘my family’; they think ‘Me and Mum’ because that’s who’s here.”
She expresses concern with what will happen if we continue in the English speaking program to take away the kids’ ability to think collectively, stating:
“We’ve got a momentum at the moment within Education that is also driving that focus on the individual skills-based learning for employment, and not the collective thinking; critical thinking; open planning.”
“At all levels, we’re taking away not just the ability for kids to think imaginatively and collectively, but we’re reinforcing it. However, there are the kura, the bilingual programs [that] are actually seeds of hope in a big way that … we need to think about collectively as a country.”
Sustainability and Social and Cultural Aspirations
Originally aired on Advancing Sustainability, Sunday 24 June 2007, Radio New Zealand National
“A discussion of the interplay between environmental sustainability and New Zealand’s social and cultural aspirations. The panel Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Bronwyn Hayward, Tim Jackson, Pita Sharples, Hon David Benson-Pope, Peter Winder. The Host is Linda Clark.”