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Contemporary schooling needs a critical rethink to break the “engagement epidemic” turning students off learning and a reboot that extends far beyond “a couple of tweaks to curriculum”, Australian learning strategist Louka Parry will tell school leaders at the upcoming Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) State Forum.

“We need to return to first principles for what we think should sit at the heart of human development,” according to Mr Parry.

The founder of The Learning Future – a global strategy and knowledge translation organisation – Mr Parry said Australia’s education system needed to overcome its “obsession with high stakes examinations that focus on such a narrow view of human potential”.

“In a shifting digital world we must focus on the dimensions that make us truly human. Our collective opportunity is to better converge the social, emotional and academic domains of learning in order to inspire and equip young people (and ourselves) for today and tomorrow,” he said.

“We can better empower and equip young people to build a life they love by accelerating the shift toward truly human centred-design in schools, this will necessarily mean a shift away from the grammar of school to the more expansive language of learning.

“In some ways the era of schooling is being replaced by dynamic learning ecosystems that are emerging as the future, where schools act as a learning commons for an entire community, and only bold and passionate leadership will move us forward towards this new reality.”

Mr Parry is among a thought-provoking line-up of speakers addressing the theme Celebrating Change at the biennial ISQ State Forum.

Forum speakers include:

  • Michael McQueen | Trend forecaster
  • Felicity Furey | Social entrepreneur
  • Paul Kelly | Political analyst
  • Professor Deborah Terry AO | Vice-Chancellor and President, UQ

ISQ Executive Director David Robertson said the biennial forum was a signature event that brought independent school leaders together with big-picture thinkers, social researchers and education entrepreneurs.

Mr Robertson said during the forum ISQ would launch its latest Our Schools – Our Future research paper by University of Melbourne academics Dr Natasha Ziebell and Dr Lucy Robertson.

“The paper will present reflections on teaching and learning in Queensland independent schools during COVID-19,” he said.

The forum will be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on 17 June. Queensland independent school leadership teams and school board representatives can register for the forum here. Seats are limited.


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Justine Nolan
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