€423,000 Awarded to Program Inspired by Learning 2030
“I recently curated a summit on the future of secondary education. It was convened as a partnership between the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics and the University of Waterloo, both in Ontario, Canada. What was most striking was that the heads of these two institutions explicitly told me they didn’t want any focus on STEM education.
They wanted a future in which students are able to think creatively.”
–Learning 2030 Curator Michael Brooks
Steiner school teacher and Chair of Trustees for the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship UK & Ireland Elaine Holt read these words in the December 2013 issue of New Scientist in an opinion piece titled “Invest in minds not maths.” In the article, Learning 2030 Summit Curator Michael Brooks, expresses his belief that instead of trying to educate more scientists or engineers to drive innovation, we should focus on turning out agile thinkers.
This resonated deeply with Holt who shared these beliefs but who, despite being part of an education system recognized for its innovative and holistic approach, had always thought herself to be a “lone voice.”
The article was inspired by Brooks’ experience at Waterloo Global Science Initiative’s Learning 2030 Summit where, among other recommendations, contributors from across the globe advocated abandoning the culture of grades and exams and moving to assessments centred on a student’s portfolio of projects. Inspired, Holt began discussions with colleagues that would result in an ambitious new project.
The result of those discussions are the Acknowledging Creative Thinking Skills (ACTS) program, a collaborative effort between five partners – Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship (UK & Ireland), Sammenslutningen af frie Rudolf Steiner skoler i Danmark (Denmark); Steinerskoleforbundet (Norway); Steinerkasvatuksen liitto (Finland) and Crossfields Institute (UK) – that recognizes and validates learning gained through an integrated variety of formal, non-formal and informal learning styles. In 2015, this program was awarded €423,000 in EU Erasmus+ funding to develop of a European Area of Skills and Qualifications.
ACTS aims to facilitate creative thinking and maximize potential in all students through a holistic approach to curriculum development and implementation combining the highly-focused, analytic thinking and memory training involved in formal education with the softer focus, non-verbal, experience of interconnections and context that is often found in informal learning settings.
On-going research is being undertaken at a series of international ACTS conferences in Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo and London where teachers and educationalists from each of the partner jurisdictions are working to develop new international qualifications which acknowledge creative capacities and competencies.
WGSI extends our congratulations on a successful start to this project and is excited that the Learning 2030 Summit is continuing to make an impact on education globally.