Future Frontiers: Educating for 2040 Panel Discussion (full version)


DUNCAN IVISON: Well, good evening,
ladies and gentlemen. My name is Duncan Ivison, I’m Deputy Chancellor of Research
at University of Sydney and I want to welcome you to
University of Sydney’s city campus. It is wonderful to have you here
for this incredibly important and exciting, not just event,
but discussion and discourse. Before I begin, I do want to acknowledge
that University of Sydney is on the lands of the Gadigal people, one of Australia’s first peoples, one of the first peoples
in the Sydney basin. We like to think of ourselves
as an institution that has been around for 160 years,
but of course the land on which our campus
is built has been a place of learning for more than 60,000 years, and that’s a legacy
we take very seriously, we’re very proud of, and I want
to acknowledge and honour tonight, and my respect to all elders past
and present, and to any Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people
here with us tonight. It’s wonderful to have you here. So, as I said, we’re delighted
to be hosting this event. This is an event, a wonderful
example a hope of the way in which the University of Sydney is trying
to work in new ways with government, with industry,
and with the community, through a range of different mechanisms. And of course,
we’re delighted to be working with the New South Wales
Department of Education on this critical question of how can
education enhance and underpin, not to put it too grandiosely, but human flourishing
in the 21st century. What does someone in kindergarten today
need to understand, need to know, need to learn,
in order to thrive. Not just economically, but culturally and personally
in the 21st century, in an age of artificial intelligence,
robotics, quantum computing, 24 hour news cycle,
the extraordinary things that our children and ourselves
deal with every day. So, we were delighted to have the chance
to work with the department to explore these questions
in great detail, drawing on the research expertise of my
wonderful colleagues across the University and the extraordinary group of
researchers who we’ll hear from tonight
are a wonderful exemplar for that. The report is remarkable, reading it just before I came up
this afternoon, of course,
it’s a University of Sydney report, it opens with a quote
from Charles Dickens. That’s completely appropriate. “It’s the best of times,
the worst of times.” I couldn’t think of a better way,
really, of setting the scene. There is so much that is exciting and
powerful and extraordinary about technology
and about artificial intelligence and the extraordinary impact
it will have on our culture and on our young people. But there are also as many questions
raised about it that we need to begin thinking about and we need to begin thinking about
very quickly. We know at the University, the significant social, economic,
cultural challenges that it will present to not only
our students, but to the students coming behind. I mean, think of someone
who was in kindergarten in 2005. Twitter hadn’t been invented yet, Snapchat hadn’t been invented yet, quantum computing was a glint in
David Riley and Michelle Simmons’ eyes. Artificial intelligence was
only beginning to be explored at the rate it is now. Think of the extraordinary challenges, think of the extraordinary developments for that young person now, who is probably close to
finishing high school and entering the University of Sydney,
we hope. So, we are delighted to be working
with the department, to be working with Mark, and it’s wonderful to have Mark
back with us, and also it’s a wonderful, I think,
opportunity for the Sydney policy lab to demonstrate what we hope is the kind
of convening power and the impartial way in which
we hope to work with our partners. Tonight we’ll have a wonderful
opportunity to discuss, with the research team and with Mark, just what these challenges of AI for
education actually bring with us. Bring to us. So, without further ado I’d like to
invite Mark Scott, Secretary of the Department of
education to speak to us tonight about these challenges. Mark. MARK SCOTT: Thanks. Well, ladies and gentlemen, thanks for joining us this evening and thanks to all who are partaking
through the live stream that is going out from here tonight. Can I also begin by acknowledging
the traditional owners of the land of which we meet and pay my respect
to elders past and present. It’s wonderful to have you all
here to listen to researchers and leaders in this field as we
think through the challenge of educating for a changing world. And this report that’s being released
and discussed today is but the latest instalment of a
series of papers and pieces of work that are being commissioned
by the Department of Education as we try and ask the fundamental
question, ‘how do we best prepare young people ‘for the changing world that they
will inherit?’ Young students who started kindergarten
with us this year… (RINGTONE)
..will leave the workforce… I think that’s my phone ringing.
I’m sorry, that’s education for a changing
world. (LAUGHTER) The young people who enter kindergarten
this year will leave our school system
in the early 2030s. They’ll spend the vast majority
of their working life in the second half of the 21st century. It’s very hard to anticipate precisely what jobs will be available for them. There will be reports and there will be
reference to this tonight of many jobs that will go and many
new jobs that will be created. We know that through an education
system we’ll have to set them on a pathway of lifelong learning
because the jobs that will be created and the technology that
will be created will force those young people to learn and master the
new over and over and over again. So, for us as educators today it
focuses the question, well, what should we be teaching? And how should we be teaching? And if we are committed to young
people, how do we best prepare them
for the complexity and for the change which will be
a feature of their entire lives? I often discuss the tension I feel in running the
New South Wales Department of Education with the team of educators who are there
because it’s such a big system. It’s one of the biggest education
systems in the world. Today I’m reliably informed 800,000
children turned up to learn in our schools and over 50,000
classrooms and 2200 schools. And I can tell you the logistical
challenge, the interpersonal demands of
running a system that big are profound for the educators in
our schools. Each day is so demanding and is
so complex and is so interesting and absorbing
that could take all our time. But we know if we’re really to be
responsible to them, we need to be very mindful
and conscious of the future. And I think great educators are a little bit obsessed
about the future. In trying to think carefully through about the world we are preparing
young people for. And that’s why in the department, as well as running all these
schools every day, we’ve set up a team that’s
specifically designed to focus on the question of how best we educate
young people for this changing world and it’s from that group
in the Department that this report was commissioned from the
academics at the University of Sydney led by John, and that we can explore and debate
and discuss tonight. So, we’re very proud of this work. We are delighted with the body
of material that is now being published online by the department
over the last year, year and a half. We’re fascinated that we’re generating
such international attention because the issues that we are debating
and discussing tonight are of attention in every school and
every school system around the world and we’re delighted
to be able to provide a platform for intellectual and thought
leadership around these issues. And we’re delighted to be in partnership with the University
of Sydney in doing this work, and we recognise that in trying to
come to terms with the questions that we’re addressing tonight, that no one person or no one
policy area will have the answer, but it will require the very best
efforts of our leading thinkers coming together and working and helping us frame the
issues and frame the debate. So, on behalf of the department
and the department staff here, we’re delighted to get in and wrestle and engage with the complexity
of these issues, and I’m pleased that in the crowd
tonight aren’t just people who work in the department’s policy
area, but we’ve got practitioners
in the field. You know, we’ve got school principals, we’ve got primary school teachers,
we’ve got secondary school teachers, we got those we’re wrestling with
this complexity every day and are conscious
of the burden and responsibility that they carry to best prepare
young people for a changing world. So, thank you for being part of it and I look forward to sitting
and joining in with you as we listen to the
experts, we understand how they’ve approached the challenge, and they share their findings
with us tonight. Thanks, Mark, and thanks, Duncan
for setting the scene for us. I’d now like to introduce
Professor John Buchanan. John Buchanan is the head of discipline business
analytics at the University of Sydney’s business school, and
he’s the lead author of this report. Thanks, John. JOHN BUCHANAN: Thanks very much, and I’ve been told I’ve got five
minutes, so I’ll be concise. First of all, I’d like to thank the
Department of Education for taking a huge risk. When you get six academics from
University of Sydney you’re kind of hiring six unguided missiles,
so we really do appreciate that. And I’d particularly like to thank
the people around Bronwyn Ledgard who gave us the space
to develop these ideas. And it really was a refreshing
experience to put a draft up and then be told that we had to
really go and think about it more. And that was done in a very
constructive way, and I think the report reflects that. So, what was the summary
of our findings? You’ve heard the question,
a child entering kindergarten today, what should the education department
be doing for them? A great question. What was our process? We said across the University of Sydney there is a lot of collective insight, but it is often only expressed
in small group or by individually authored papers. We got together a team that
encompasses some of Sydney’s leading research
engineers, a research psychiatrist, leading educator, someone from the business community who straddles AI and the business world, and a labour market researcher
currently based at UTS. And out of that we then commissioned and organised workshops across the
campus in each of the different faculties,
particularly in medicine and health, in engineering and IT, and in education. So, what did we find? Well, I’m boiling it down into three
general areas. First of all about
artificial intelligence. There is, at the moment, a moral
panic about artificial intelligence. There’s “the robots are coming and
they’re going to wipe us all out.” This is in a helpful narrative, and we’ve basically said,
let’s unpack the elements of it. There is the overt impact on jobs
and their content. More importantly there is the covert impact which is how it affects our
abilities to communicate with each other and to make
decisions, and then its amplifying impact. It makes the problems associated
with inequality, globalisation and climate change
either better or worse. So, amplification, be for good
or evil. So our conclusion was,
what is the impact of AI? It’s going to lead to really good
times, it’s going to lead to really bad times, and it’s going
to lead to a combination of both. It’s basically we’re going into a
quite complex and messy situation. So, the question then becomes,
“How do you handle that complexity?” And we address three key issues. The first one you’ve got to ask is, “What types of pupils are we
developing?” And if you look at the narrative that is coming out of mainstream
business bodies, they are particularly interested
in flexible and adaptable labour. And we are concerned by this, because we should be thinking
about flourishing human beings, productive citizens,
not just efficient and flexible labour, and we go through the international
classification of human functioning, the PERMA
framework from positive psychology, and we go through the ocean framework
on personality to show that the normal way in which people
think about labour is very narrow. When people think about 21st-century
skills, they say they’re big,
they’re talking about creativity, problem-solving and the like, but when you actually line them
up against those validated frameworks for thinking about humanity,
they are quite narrow. So, that’s the first thing.
We should be developing flourishing human beings. The second big issue is,
“How do we think about skill?” And it might seem obvious, but we take here a life course
perspective. It might seem obvious, but from the
mental health literature there’s really good work
on mental health and mental capital
over the life course, and a thing that is often overlooked
in the debates about education and the future of work is the importance
of primary education. And we go to quite some trouble to actually say when we’re
thinking about skill here, we’ve got to think about giving
people basic learning dispositions. And we don’t talk about this enough. This is things like the ability
to concentrate, you know, the ability to follow an idea through, basic stuff like socially,
just getting on with people. And interestingly enough, just the physical side of work, the Greeks were very strong on this,
we deal with the total person, not just their brain, and the
primary sector has always thought of this and has got great ideas around
it, and we think that the first thing we think about skill, let’s think of that learning
dispositions, because if you don’t get them right, there is no foundation
for moving forward. But probably the most important
part of our work is challenging this idea that
we need to create focus on problem solving, collaboration,
and the like in the abstract. What’s called 21st-century skills
or generic skills. As we show in the report, this is a narrative that has been
propagated for about 30 years. And we show that it is an unhelpful
way of thinking about skill. And what I found interesting
when we did our focus groups, when we did our workshops, I went focus groups, was actually
a health sciences educator who said she was sick and tired of hearing about how she needed to create more problem solvers, because she said, what we need,
and she was particularly annoyed about collaboration,
because she said you just don’t need collaborative
skills. When you’re sick,
you need a team of people with a whole range of expertise. You’ve got to have people
with deep expertise, with the ability to collaborate.
And that’s when it really struck me. It’s not just in my area of labour
studies which has made this point. You’ve got the health sciences
looking at it. We dug down, we found the positives, the positive psychologists are
saying it, the cognitive psychologist are
saying it, and the advanced labour
market researchers are saying it. And I think this idea is something
that has not got the attention it deserves,
what is the future of expertise? Because if you don’t have a
domain of expertise, you don’t have the foundations
required to get those more general skills of problem-solving
and collaboration and the like. But then, the final point about
substantive analysis of the qualities needed, is we’ve
got to be critical, however, of how expertise is currently
defined. Because it’s very academically
defined in the school system. Connell et al used to talk about the competitive academic
curriculum, and we would argue that we need to make
the academic side of life more practical,
and that the vocational side of things, we need to have more powerful
underpinning knowledge. I can elaborate on this,
but I’ve only got five minutes. So, how to finish up? We talk about the implications
for education. So when we are talking about
education in an AI world, we’ve got to address the covert as
well as the overt actions, and this means giving people
the ability to critically assess how their connections
with others are being changed. Not just to simply
accept the technology, but note how the technology is
transforming their social relations. Secondly, we need to reconfigure vocational and academic education, and we put in there one of the best
schools I’ve ever witnessed which is in New Jersey. The Bergen Academy. And that had been a failing
technical high School. It got down to about 300 students. So, the new group of teachers
came in and they said, “We’re going to make this a
vocational school like no other.” And they’ve transformed it to the
point where it is now like the North Sydney Boys’, the North Sydney
Girls’ high schools of New Jersey. There’s queues of people
trying to get into it because they have renovated that
curriculum, it’s still practical and applied,
but the economics department is linked with major firms
on Wall Street. The economics department works with researchers in the local
teaching hospital and the like. So, they’ve actually re-thought what
vocational education is about. It’s not something for those who can’t do the academic, it actually
fuses the practical and academic. And similarly we site very good
examples of vocational education in Australia where vocational
education isn’t the second-rate option, it’s actually a high-quality
option which actually gives people really transferable skills
they can take further in life. But then finally we finish up on a
pretty ambitious note saying that if we’re to change all this it’s
not just a matter of changing the curriculum
here or getting a bit more conscious about AI there, we need
a new settlement around education. Social relations are not fixed in time. Education represents a balance
of social forces, and we say if we’re to move more
creatively into the future, two players in particular need to
change their relationship with the system.
Employers and teachers. Employers are fast to criticise
and slow to act. But they have a critical role
to play because workplaces as sites of learning are highly
underdeveloped, and we think as we move into the
future there needs to be more vigorous debate, not about what
educators should be doing more, but what should employers be
actually doing to lift the education profile? And similarly with teachers. We think teachers are the absolute
bedrock of the system, the anchor of the system,
and they are too often passed over and dismissed in the so-called
industrial models of education. Teachers day in day out have
to have the fight for crowd control. It’s not just educating, it is actually keeping a classroom
together. And we think the expertise that’s
required to be a great teacher is something that needs to be
respected more and developed more. So, I’ve probably gone
a little bit over five minutes. I’m sorry about that. Thanks for having us,
thanks for taking the risk. We enjoyed working on this project
immensely, and we look forward to the discussion. Thanks, John. I’d now like to invite
Leslie Loble to come up. Leslie is the deputy secretary
of external affairs and regulation in the department,
and has led this work. And I’d also like to invite the panel up to take their positions now. So, while they’re coming up. Professor John Buchanan who has just
been introduced to you already. Next I’d like to introduce Emma Hogan. Emma is the New South Wales Public
Service Commissioner. Next to her is Stacey Quince who is
the principal of Campbelltown Performing Arts
High School. Next to Stacey is Doctor Sandra Peter. She is the director of
Sydney Business Insights. And that leaves Rafael.
And next to… PROF. RAPHAEL CALVO: My water is all
wet now. (LAUGHTER) Professor Raphael Calvo is an ARC
future fellow at the University of Sydney, and the director of the well-being
technology lab. Welcome to our panel. LESLIE LOBLE: Well, hello everybody.
Good to see you. I’m going to call out one thing first which is that we not only have a
diverse research team and diverse people up here, we have a very diverse group of people
in the entire room, and I really hope that as we go
through this session we’re going to get some questions that will throw
some prompts to my colleagues here. But… microphone gone off. It’s a good thing I’m a New Yorker! (LAUGHTER) But we will leave time for discussion, and I really do hope we get all sorts of
perspectives out here today. I’m going to pick up, start with a question that is
actually diametrically opposed to what you were outlining
as the scaremongering about AI. I’m going to start with, there’s
an eminent economist, Robert Gordon. And he, last year, wrote a book that
got quite a bit of attention. But essentially,
he says that there’s been no era with greater innovation than the century
that went between 1870 and 1970. Nothing before, and nothing since
comes close to that era in terms of changing daily life. And he points to electricity, steam,
railroad, communications, chemicals, on and on he goes, and absolutely nothing comes close,
including the 50 years of computers. OK? So, I’m going to start, and I’m going to throw it to Rafa.
May I call you Rafa? PROF. CALVO: Yes, please.
LESLIE LOBLE: OK. So, I’m going to start by asking
you, is AI actually different? Is he wrong? Will AI actually have
a significant impact? And if so, why? PROF. CALVO: Uh, yes. I think it is different. The first part of the
Industrial Revolution, the steam engine,
and a lot of inventions that you mentioned were changing the
physical aspect of our work life. And it’s true that a lot of those
changes are huge. I will say they were toward the end
of the 1700s, early 1800s, that’s what brought people like
John Stuart Mill and Karl Marx. The big changes of the first 40
years in England particularly, brought together the two most
opposing political views that we have today. Marx on the one hand, and John
Stuart Mill were based in London in the 1840s when the railways were
spreading across England. The fastest… Basically the railways that went
into the 1840s are the same they have today. But that changed the physical aspect. What happened then in 1840 is
happening today with the cognitive aspect of human
beings. It is changing at the same speed
that we saw at that time. We’re seeing that, from the cognitive,
from the way we think, the things we pay attention to.
We are in the attention economy, when they were, let’s say,
in the logistics economy. Moving and moving big volumes
of heavy things and so on. Now we are in the same,
but at the intelligence level. Changing the way we think altogether. And I think that has a very
significant impact for the conversation we’re having here,
because we are an attention economy. So, policymakers, schools,
they need to be aware that media and tech companies are in a
war for the kids attention. And we need to teach them
how to defend themselves. I think this one of the biggest
challenges I think we’ll have. How to keep their attention
on the things that matter. It’s already hard even for adults,
right? So, imagine for them in 20 years
from now, how much harder… Because the algorithm is going to be
better, they already can recognise emotions, they can anticipate the
things you’re going to be thinking, they can anticipate the things
you are looking for. And that’s great! It has a lot of benefits. But they need to develop
the skills of autonomy. The sense of agency I think is
one of the most important skills that we need to have and develop
in order to have a flourishing life. LESLIE LOBLE: Well, that’s a
terrific response to kick us off. I promise you I’ll stop Robert
Gordon after this next question, but he also says that… ..that the era of prosperity
is under significant threat. And he points to a number of headwinds. The demographic headwind of ageing,
climate change… He also calls out what he calls
‘education stagnation’. Inequality,
and what he says is where in for an extended era now of flat earnings. So, Sandra. Bet you didn’t think it was going to
go to you, but anyway. DR PETER: Its doom and gloom,
it has to come to me. LESLIE LOBLE: So, Sandra, a lot of your work looks at these
sorts of headwinds, and what it means for business
and what it means for the economy. Do you think it’s right? DR. PETER: As I said, it’s doom and
gloom so it had to come to me. I’m the person has to talk about the
impacts of AI, and every time I stand up there’s kind of a picture
of the Terminator next to me. And the conversation is either,
“They’re coming to take our jobs, “it’s the end of the world,” or
“They’re coming to kill us.” Neither of those things
are happening just quite now, but I think what you picked up on
there is actually quite important. Because quite often these conversations about the future of AI revolve
purely around the overt impacts of AI. How many jobs are going
to disappear, is it 47 percent, is it 67,
is it tasks, is it jobs? We argue that this is actually not a very useful narrative to just
look at that. If we are to understand the impact on the future of education,
we need to understand yes, the overt impact on the nature
of jobs, and yes, some jobs will be displaced, some jobs will
disappear, some tasks will be replaced, but there is also an argument
for how we will work with machines. We’ve seen doctors working with
machines, we see lawyers working with machines, and the nature
of those industries is changing. It then there are more subtle things, and I think that gets to both
the question around rising inequality and those sorts of issues, as well as to
Rafa’s answer, which is around this covert aspect,
this covert impact that artificial intelligence has,
and that’s much more subtle. And it doesn’t get nearly as much
attention in the media, or in general in our conversation
as it should. And this covert impact is really on the
types of social connections that we have, and on the decision-making around us. So, when we say covert impacts
of artificial intelligence, what we really mean is trying to
think really beyond social media, beyond Facebook, to all these
recommended services that we have around us. Just think of the new business
models that we have. So, besides Facebook, we’ve got Netflix, we’ve got Amazon but can predict
what we want to watch, what we want to buy next,
what mode of transport we want to take home, at what time do want
to finish work and take home so that the traffic’s
not too bad? So, all of these things have kind of
seeped into the background of our lives and ruled the way we
interact with other, what choices we make,
what job we get, because they are now in recruitment
and in selection services. Whether we get the loan or not, because they’re now in finance
and in insurance. Whether we get that job or not.
Right? All of those things have become just
part of the fabric of our society. And the questions get really complex
once we start to unpack it because the new types of artificial
intelligence systems we’re seeing cannot tell us exactly how they made
that decision, cannot give us a good explanation of
why they might have rejected you for a loan, or why I didn’t see,
let’s say, an ad for a Vice Chancellor
at the University of Sydney because I’m a woman of a certain age
and so on. So, that gets much more complex. So there’s that covert impact. And then the last impact is that
of amplifying other things. You mentioned inequality,
and really we’re seeing this huge range in inequality,
there’s lots of people working on this. But last year for example, it
was about I think one percent of the population made 87 percent
of the wealth that was generated. That’s huge inequality, and AI is
actually working to amplify that, not just through the types of jobs
and the rate at which those jobs are changing, but also through this polarisation of the jobs that
we’re seeing out there, right? You have companies like Facebook that employ eight,
9000 people who rate content. They watch suicide videos and inappropriate content
and delete them. These are the low-paid jobs of the
new economy, and we see them in that, we see them in the gig economy,
the whole range of industries. Not only that, but when we’re
looking at inequality, think also inequalities of hope. The skill, the knowledge that
you need to have to work in this new economy
with these new systems, right? Who are the people who know how, who know what types of news we’re
getting on Facebook? Who know what to read,
how to prioritise that content, how much time to spend on the social
media and so on. So besides that, across things
like for instance climate change, we see amplifying effects. Whether that’s more computing
power to use this system, whether it’s economic growth because
we have these apps in the first place, or whether it’s helping us deal
with the effects of climate change. LESLIE LOBLE: So, I might try to get
some other panellists. (LAUGHTER) DR PETER: Well, you got me talking
about it. LESLIE LOBLE: So, if I can I’m going
to ask you, I just want to pick up on one of the
things you were saying. So, John, one particular
element of, kind of, the AI impact that is often written about is the
impact on first jobs. And that the kind of career
ladder for young people straight from high school, finishing a vocational degree
or even when they leave university, was to go into jobs that helped them
get practical experience and additional skill. And those seem to be hollowing out
a bit with AI. What does this tell us? You’re nodding your head, so I’m assuming you would agree with
it? PROF. BUCHANAN: Absolutely. And I suppose what my take on this
though is that people kinda focus on AI as the
fundamental source of the problem. So, we’ve seen big rounds
of retrenchments recently, and they’ve all been blamed on AI, but I think that’s missing the
point. There was huge change, and I like
Gordon’s argument immensely, can I say.
And if you look at the big change over the 21st century, one of the
biggest ones as the washing machine in terms of liberating women and
getting into the labour force. At the end of the Second World War, there was huge diffusion of change
around microelectronics and new materials that have been
developed in war. The problem is not
so much the technology, but how big gains of productivity
that come with that are distributed. So, jobs in a dynamic market
economy are always disappearing, and then other ones are reappearing. It’s the rate at which they reappear is linked to the flow of consumption
and production. And I think your headwinds are very
important here. LESLIE LOBLE: A lot of the
people in the room here think of our role is getting kids ready
to move out into that labour force. Now, if that steppingstone job is developing some cracks, what do
we need to think about as educators? PROF. BUCHANAN: Well, and I’m sorry,
you’ve obviously forgotten the report I wrote for
you in 2002 on this very point. (LAUGHTER) Where I actually said educators
frankly need to be more aggressive. It’s not educator’s role to simply absorb and respond to what else
is going on. I think educators have a role for saying we should be defining
the character of the policy mix. It’s not the economy creates these
problems and education runs around
and picks up the pieces afterwards or prepares people to go in there, I think we as a society need
to think we want a policy mix which takes the development of human
capability as the endpoint. And all arms of policy should be directed at developing human
capability. And that’s not kind of some far left idea that’s being picked up from the
1930s or whatever, that’s Omar Chessin
and Martha Nussbaum, the kind of rock stars of the
Academy. And I think educators need to be
more assertive in that regard. Now, that the big picture. But they’ve got to be practical,
right? We’re not going to see that change
anytime soon, and I think this is when, when we’re
talking about rethinking vocational education in particular,
we’ve got to give people, young people, the capacity
to handle rejection. Right? And one of the most eloquent quotes I ever picked up from one of the
researchers I work with is he came back from interviewing a bunch of teachers and he said,
“I just had a really good insight. “The teachers were telling me, ‘what
to do with the bottom 80 percent?'” So, you think about that.
Education and… Sydney Uni is a big problem here, because a lot of the education system is geared up around addressing
the peak of the university system. I think you got to think about how we equip people who aren’t
going to university and don’t necessarily have to go
to university to flourish. And that’s why we take up these broader notions of developing
humans in the broad. LESLIE LOBLE: Terrific. Emma, so… You are new to the public sector.
Welcome. So… EMMA HOGAN: Feeling very
academically inadequate. LESLIE LOBLE: No, no. That’s why we
like having you. Let everybody know. But you have a long career in
employment in the private sector. EMMA HOGAN: I do. LESLIE LOBLE: So, as you reflect on
in particular now as Public Service Commissioner, what do you see
coming towards the public sector? What do you think is the role for the public sector in these
sorts of debates and in terms of our own employment
relationships and so forth? EMMA HOGAN: So, I’m only eight weeks
in this week, so of course I have all the answers. I’ve probably got a lot more
questions than I do answers. I think what struck me both about
the report and the conversation that we’re having now is in the same
way that people in this room are thinking about the future of
education for the future of work, that’s happening at the same time we’re trying to define what the
future of work actually is. There isn’t this sort of finite
picture, “OK, here you go, we can give that
to you, now prepare for this.” We’re sort of changing the wheels on
the car as it hurdles up the freeway. And the tyres perhaps represent all
different things. So, one of the opportunities I see is across the public sector, each division you know, marks, transport, health, everybody is looking at these
pockets of what will the future of work be
within my area. But I think at a policy level, we do have an opportunity because of
the way the government is structured to have a sector-wide conversation about the framework
for which we will think about the future of work and not just how
we will apply it at professional University graduate
kind of level, but at vocational graduate type of level and perhaps even school lever level. I hadn’t actually thought about
that. I’ve just come from running a
two-day off-site with my team to start thinking about what’s this
feature of work conversation for the commission, for the public
service commission to be having? And one of the get-to-know-you
exercises we did was “What was your first-ever job?” And it ranged from milk run to paper
round to… mine was a Saturday girl at the
hairdressers. But actually what really struck us
today was how many of those jobs actually don’t exist anymore from
only sort of 20 to 30 years ago. So, I hadn’t actually had the view
of what will we do about that first role and what will that first
experience be. I think we have the privilege in the public sector to really
think about those things at a deep level, because certainly
at a secretary level, I’m not sure, Mark, if you would
agree, but there is one representative for almost all big
groups of professions. So, I think that’s a conversation
we should have, but it’s not one at a sector level that I have necessarily seen
too much on yet. Albeit eight weeks in. So… LESLIE LOBLE: That’s only eight
weeks. We have a lot. That sounds fantastic. So, Stacey, I’m now going to switch
a bit to education. And you know, John mentioned,
but you know, lots of people talk
about 21st-century skills. And this is what we need. I want you to, if you don’t mind, tell us what,
when you think about what you’re doing at Campbelltown
Performing Arts High School, to get kids ready for the 21st-century
that they’re already in, what do you think that means? What are you doing?
What needs to change? STACEY QUINCE: I think a lot of the
discourse around education at the moment really presents
education as a dichotomy. So, it’s either skills or content. It’s either future-focused
learning or traditional approaches, it’s literacy or numeracy,
or it’s 21st-century skills, I think that’s really unhelpful and I also think that it’s really
polarising. I think there’s a case to be made… Sure. The button that you said
you’d be able to operate from where you’re sitting. No worries. It is. So, I think that idea that it’s
either/or is really unhelpful. I actually think there is
a space for all of those things. And when we support teachers to really work with students and prepare them for the future
beyond school, they’re doing all of those things. They know their students really
well, they know the skills and the
knowledge that students need to both do well at school, but actually to perform well beyond
school, and they draw on a whole range of
pedagogical approaches, both approaches that have worked
in the past in more traditional settings,
but new and emerging approaches that allow students to apply skills
and knowledge to a range of challenges in the
local and global community. So, at Campbelltown we’re working
really hard in that space. We think that these skills really
matter, we know that they’re not the only things that matter,
but we developed a framework over the last few years
to ensure that there is a shared language amongst teachers
and students and the community about how those skills operationalise
both at school and beyond school. We’re providing students with a whole
range of opportunities to develop products and services in response to
challenges in the broader community. So, our students do projects where
they draw both from skills and knowledge at a deep level and
they are engaged in learning that kind of replicates real-world
experience. So, some of those examples are things
like we’ve had students work with Campbelltown City Council
over an extended period of time to increase the use of local parklands and develop a deeper understanding
of the importance of sustainability in the local community, and in a project our students
created a range of products to be implemented within that parkland
to increase the use of that space. So, one group worked on identifying ways to get young families to use
the parkland more effectively. They created an interactive play
board for young people and do some signage with QR code
embedded information in it around the biodiversity
in that area, and they pitched that concept to counsel and it went into production and it’s
since in the parkland. We had another group of students who developed a picture book to teach
young students about the flora and fauna in that parkland, they worked with teachers to create
a range of teaching and learning activities that go
with that picture book, and that’s been distributed to
schools and public libraries in the broader community. Those… I can give you a dozen
other examples, but those projects that students
are involved in both allowed them to develop deep knowledge around
science, around English, they allowed them to develop skills
like literacy skills, collaboration skills,
critical thinking skills, but most importantly,
they demonstrate to our students that they’ve got the capacity to
make a difference in the world beyond school.
It develops in them a sense of agency, it empowers them as young people, and it really instils in the whole
broader community this notion that the young people who are in our
schools now have already got the capacity to work
beyond the four walls of our school. (APPLAUSE) LESLIE LOBLE: Well, I was going to
ask you, Emma, what you thought of all of that
as a parent. But I think as a parent, and there’s
probably parents on the panel, so I throw that open to anybody who
either has a child in school or had one, you know, when you think about what you want
for schooling, what comes to mind? EMMA HOGAN: So, I have an
11-year-old stepdaughter, and I have a one-year-old baby. She is one on Thursday. I’m actually more worried about my 11-year-old at the moment
and I am about one, because I feel like my youngest
daughter, we’re really thinking about this now
in terms of her future, but I worry for the my 11-year-old that we won’t necessarily
have our thinking straight in education or work by the time she’s
graduating, and I worry about that. And I worry about that because some
of the language that she uses with me, she’s kind of got this view
that if she’s not good at science and technology,
she might not have a future. And some of the language that I
think is happening, you know, you talk about the amplification of
the AI argument that robots are coming to rule the
world and all that. That sort of feels like it’s
happened her a little bit around this idea that, of Stem and
steam etc. That if she’s not good at these particular things, she may not
have a future. And she doesn’t sit down with me
and say that, “I’m really worried about my future,” but some the language that she uses
sort of implies that she feels like she has to be really
good at things that perhaps are not natural to her
and it stops her from exploring the things that she is actually
really good at which are much more around
creativity, storytelling, stuff like that.
And she doesn’t necessarily hear in the language of society at the
moment that that’s as important. And maybe it’s not, but there are
natural inclinations I think in kids to explore the things
that they’re good at, and the things that they enjoy. And so as a parent I worry about the
narrative and the messaging right now about whilst we’re all sorting out this
future for our kids and the future for adults
and the idea of lifelong learners, that we’re also as families talking to
our kids about their, you know, holistic worth. LESLIE LOBLE: Rafa, that’s a lot
about what you think about as well. PROF. CALVO: Yes. In many ways.
I have a 12-year-old boy. And he’s more oriented towards
technology, but mostly like video games. So he can get engaged
with a video game literally for four hours straight. But my concern is that those technologies have been designed
to absorb him. And unless the school is more engaging, he will lean towards playing video
games or do other things that are more attractive and are
designed to do that. And then one has to play the role of
the arbiter and say “No! You have to limit to two
hours,” or whatever, Right? And it’s the father or mother who
has to put the limit. But I would like the school
for example to be, and I’m not saying it’s easy, but more engaging, in ways that he
feels more inclined to… ..to other topics of interest.
Rather than just video games. And they are psychological
drivers to engagement. So we studied that in my research
lab on how you design technologies. And those are the same psychological drivers that engage
people in schools. Or even the workplace. Autonomy, competence,
relatedness. Those three factors have a huge
impact on what kids want to do at school or what kids want to do
when they use the technology, a videogame or something like that. I think those principles are very
often used in schools. Like you were saying,
all these examples are fantastic. And I would like to see more of
those in my kids’ school at least. PROF. BUCHANAN: Leslie, can I come
in there like, one of the most inspiring
case studies I’ve ever done, because I’m a workplace researcher, was looking at a nurse who… and I picked this up when I was
studying an abattoir, and is one of the best workplaces
I’ve studied, actually. You don’t normally think of
abattoirs as kind of best practise science, but they had,
we were studying it because for every 10 workers, they had not only a supervisor,
but they had an on-the-job trainer, and what I noticed is there
were a lot of Indigenous people here, and I said “Where those Indigenous people come
from?” And they said, “That’s part of the program we’ve
got with the local school.” And I traced it back and a nurse
who’d been working in Indigenous health for twenty years got sick and
tired of nursing Indigenous people to an early death, and she did the research
and she found that if they stayed at school for one year longer,
on average they live for five years longer. So, she went in and worked out that getting kids engaged with school was
critical for increasing longevity, but she tracked through a group of
Indigenous kids and found they got to school
but only walk to the school gate. They didn’t quite make it
to the classroom. And so then she said
“How do I get them engaged?” And she ultimately found that by
getting them jobs, part-time jobs, getting the on-the-job trainer
to explain to them why they needed their maths and their English, led
to then high motivation at school. And I think this is why,
when I talk about a new education settlement,
employers aren’t just there to shout at us from the side-lines, workplaces are profoundly
potentially educational sites. Now, not every workplace is
a cathedral of learning, right? And you don’t just say any employer who put their hands up could be
drawn in, but I think we’ve really got
to mobilise a broader constituency. Teachers and schools cannot do it
on their own. There is so much thrown onto
schools, and I think this is where the settlement
comes in, and I think this is where employers have got to step up
and think, “I’m going to take a role here.” Now, that’s a very radical agenda,
that not saying employers take over the curriculum, it’s saying employers take
responsibility for part of the curriculum, and that’s what that abattoir was doing. LESLIE LOBLE: So, Sandra… DR. PETER: I am uniquely
differently qualified to answer this question
because I don’t have children. LESLIE LOBLE: That’s alright,
but you do know business. DR. PETER: And I do know quite a
bit, and have been asked recently to talk quite a lot about this
in schools, so I don’t know whether it was
Pymble Ladies College or Brisbane Grammar Girls’, Boys’, quite often this question comes up
over what do you tell them right now and what should they be most
concerned with? And one of the things I found most
wonderful in those conversations is moving the conversation from
“This is about AI and STEM,” to “This is about asking the right
questions, and instilling in them “a sense of agency.” This future is not happening to them, we don’t have to prepare them for
the future that is coming regardless of what happens. These are the kids who build
this future. So, instilling in them
that sense of agency, the fact that they can change this,
that they can think differently about how these things
come into our lives. And I was in one of these big halls
presenting, always the questions about the
autonomous vehicles. Because if you talk AI,
it has to be autonomous vehicles. And they are coming,
and they will be here tomorrow. And we put up this picture. So, I moved here from the Netherlands and we put up this picture of Amsterdam, and it’s a busy street, lots of cars, lots of people on bicycles,
lots of pedestrians, all walking around.
You know, the lights turned green and then just everybody goes, and there is these bikes in between
the cars, there’s pedestrians and everything else. And everybody seems happy,
everything is moving along. And then we ask them, “What happens if we put autonomous
vehicles in there?” “Would it make it better?” And the answer from the kids is, well,
no. You’d have to get all the people off and all the bicycles off and fence
them off and it would be all this order and nice, but it wouldn’t be
a city in which you’d want to live. Now, our kids have to learn that
they have to answer those questions as well about how we want to live
in that world. So, I think that’s a really big one
for me. LESLIE LOBLE: So, back to you
Stacey. I mean, you know, there’s a whole bunch of ingredients
that go into successful education. But, kind of the triad is curriculum
and assessment, structure of schooling, and teaching. Leadership along with that. And there’s probably plenty of
others. I’ve boiled it down too simplistically. But I mean,
if you could wave your magic wand and tell us what we should be doing
to make things easier and better, what would you change? STACEY QUINCE: There are a whole
range of things that I would change. But there are a whole range
of things that I’d keep. I am also a parent of a 15-year-old, and actually I’m really optimistic
about the future for her. I know that schools are doing
some fantastic work. My daughter goes to
a New South Wales public school, and schools are doing great work to
develop in students the skills and the knowledge that
they need to thrive in a whole range of areas beyond school. What I would change are a few things. The first, I’d have a very close look
at assessment. We know that there’s been lots of
discussion in the media lately about NAPLAN and the impact that
discourse around NAPLAN has on driving an agenda in schools. I welcome that discourse. I think for too long the focus has
been in some places on literacy and numeracy, and there
is scope for us to broaden that. And I can see that happening. I also think in terms of assessment and high-stakes assessment particularly, there needs to be a good, long look
at the HSC as an exit credential. We know some of the innovative
systems around the world are thinking
differently around credentialing, and we know that they’re providing
students, for instance, to have an opportunity to put together a curriculum that is
far more personalised that allows students to undertake for instance
internships while still at school. As opportunities for them
to develop portfolios of work in areas of passion
and that we don’t necessarily have to run a set number of subjects
and for a set period of time. I also think there is a need to re-look at our curriculum
and our syllabus documents. We know a number of them are really content-heavy
and the research tells us that if we are really going to prepare students
for the world beyond school, develop the knowledge and skills
and dispositions that they need, they need opportunities to be
engaged in applied learning to solve real problems,
that requires deep work. And some of our subjects
really require people to cover so much content that it’s difficult
to do that at a deep level. I also think, you know, the greatest
assets in our schools are teachers. I work with the most phenomenal
professionals who know their students really well and can really excite young people
about learning and turn them onto learning so that it is an exciting
place for them to be. So, we need to continue to invest
in our teachers. We need to give them the time and the space to have a look at new
and emerging pedagogies. The research in education for a
long time has been backward-facing. What’s worked in the past in more
traditional approaches, there certainly needs to be some
investment, and I’m not just talking within our system,
I’m talking across the profession, around what are the new and emerging
pedagogies that really support our students and will prepare them to
flourish in the world beyond school. And once we know that, we need
to make sure that we operationalise that through professional learning
for our teachers. How can we support our teachers to develop an understanding
of the types of pedagogies that they might draw on to
prepare our students for the future? I see that there are teachers already doing a phenomenal
job of that, but I think across the profession as a whole, that needs
some really close consideration. LESLIE LOBLE: Think you might get
clapped again but um… (LAUGHTER) Look, what I’d like to do now is
throw it open for questions. There are roving mics. And so, we’ll get around and I again
encourage you to offer question or comment from a range of perspectives. (LAUGHTER)
MURAT DIZDAR: Thanks, Leslie. It’s been fantastic
listening to you all. I am Murat Dizdar from the New
South Wales Department of Education. It’s been great coverage and very
therapeutic for me too around worrying about students. I’ve got a year four daughter, and a kindergarten son
in a great public school. I worry as well, but not for either
of those children. I worry for the teacher
that they’ve got. And not because of me. (LAUGHTER) I’ll put that on record,
it’s not because of me. I see how dedicated they are, how committed they are. You covered that territory really
strongly, Stacey. And I see that when I got the access
all areas pass across public schools, so I’ve got a lot of
hope like you’ve covered. But for people in system roles, what could you call out that we
need to do stronger and better? Because I don’t know of many
professions where you’ve got to stand up and deliver and perform, whether that’s five
periods out of six for a high school or six hours in a day. You know,
I still pretend when I visit schools and give my 10 minute best shot and
then you know, walk away for that teacher to pick
up the mess I’ve just left behind, wondering if I still got that capacity
and capability, so I’m really heartened by John
Buchanan’s comments around the anchor in the system. But what would you really say to us at a system level that we need to do far better for our teachers
to prepare them for being able to best deliver for the coverage around
a skilled capability and content? And I wonder what your views are, Stacey, around parents,
because if I put my parent hat on, and on the odd occasion where I get
to the pick up my children and hear the parent discourse, I wonder what you are looking for us from parents as well, because the
best outcomes are in partnership, we know that, between staff,
students, and parents. So, your views in both
teachers for the system, and parents for the system. STACEY QUINCE: Sure. The first thing I think
we need to do better as a system, I do know there’s been a lot
of discussion around this, is really identify powerful
practices that are already happening in our schools. There are so many powerful practises
already happening in individual classrooms and across
schools that are having a huge impact on the
achievement of learning outcomes, engagement, they are preparing
students to develop the skills that they need for the world
beyond school. So, one of the things I think we
need to get better at doing is capturing examples of that
practise and finding systematic ways to share that. The research and development piece I’ve already spoken about, but I generally think there is a need for us to think about,
fully, deeply, what sorts of pedagogical approaches
that can have really strong impact and you know, work hard
to identify them and then put them in the hands of teachers so they can
draw on that range of strategies. I also think in Australia sometimes
we tend to look inward. There is a huge education community globally who are looking at these
exact same issues as us. Some systems are doing a better
job of tackling some of these issues than we are, but I do think
we need to be doing horizon scans to have a look at what’s
happening at a global level and how can we learn from some
of those systems globally, not just based necessarily
on PISA results, because we know they can be
narrow in some respects, but actually a whole
range of other ways that we can have a look at really
effective practise across the board. And as I said, for teachers to operationalise this when their
teaching five periods on a six period day, and we’re expecting them to engage
with research and think differently about learning,
and start to use a whole new repertoire of strategies,
we really need to provide them with the time and space to have deep,
collegial, cognitively-challenging
conversations and to co-develop and to co-teach and to co-evaluate,
and we know that when teachers collaborate, pretty magical
and powerful things can happen. In terms of parents, we’ve worked
really hard with our community to engage them as learning partners. So, we know that when parents
partner with us around new models of education,
that we can get terrific buy-in, and we think that actually, as parents, they’ve got something to say about
the future of learning for the young people. So, we’ve got
a pretty different model of learning happening in year seven. Students are engaged in integrated
curriculum in humanities and STEM, they’re creating a whole range of
products and services to address real world issues. So, this week students are launching
a book about extraordinary people in the local community have made
a difference to the lives of others. They have co-published that
across year seven. We’ve also got students who
are sharing products they developed to reduce the use of non-renewable
resources at school and at home. And our parents are right
behind that model. It sees 60 students in a learning
space with three teachers, and the reason that they’re partners
in that is because we pulled them into the tent early. So, we looked at what the global
research told us about learning, we developed a model based on a
whole lot of work that we’d done within our context and gathered
evidence around what we thought we could scale up. Once we thought we had a picture
of what that looked like, we took it out for consultation,
and we had over 200 community members come into our school
for that consultation evening. We talked to them about the global
research, we talked to them about what had
already done in our school, we talked to them about what our
proposal was and why we wanted learning to look like that, and then we had facilitated table
group sessions. We didn’t just tell them
“This is what we’re going to do,” we had a teacher at every one of
those 35 tables, and the teacher’s job was to listen
and to capture recommendations from those parents. And the feedback
we got from them was phenomenal,
but they did make some suggestions and some recommendations,
and those recommendations got put into the model and then
we talked to the parents about, you know, the recommendations that
we’d taken on board. Our exhibition of learning is another opportunity for them to be
partners in the learning process. So, when our students have finished
their project, we open the school doors up
and we invite the parents in. To have conversations with our young
people about the learning that they’ve been involved in, and they provide us with feedback
through exit slips and surveys. So, our last exhibition of learning for year sevens saw 400 community
members come in, and our 12 and 13-year-olds got up with absolute
confidence and talked about their learning and the work that they’d
done and how they know they’ve done a good job and what the next steps
were, and recaptured feedback from parents again and we feed that back
into the cycle of what we’re doing. So, I think that partnership
with parents is really critical. LESLIE LOBLE: I just want to make
sure we get some other questions in. STACEY QUINCE: Sure. LIZ JACKSON: Hi, Stacey. My name is Liz Jackson. I’ve been an educator for the past
10 years and I’ve recently moved out of that space and now
head up as the education director at start-up.business, and we work very closely with schools
at the moment, so I wanted to congratulate you about the talking about the communities of practise, and we know how important they are,
and we’ve seen some exceptional work across Australia
in both rural and regional areas. My, I guess, biggest concern having
come from the education space and now moving out and working
with the teachers is that there is a lot of difficulty
around the support the teachers get and
we know that by 2030 there needs to be 14.9 million more teachers trying
to reach that quality education framework for the sustainable
development goals, so what can we do, and when’s it
actually going to be actioned in supporting staff in providing them
with the agency that they need to be autonomous
learners themselves and really change the focus and provide
opportunities for their students to be exposed
to communities at practise? I think more importantly, it comes
from the leadership. So how do also support principals in
that respect as well? STACEY QUINCE: I can really only
probably talk about this from the school perspective and what
I do to ensure that my teachers are not only autonomous,
because actually I also want them to be collaborating. But, we use our school funds,
professional learning funds, to release teams of teachers to work
together and collaborate. We privilege that. We think it’s really critical that
they’re provided time to do that. We built time into the timetable to allow those conversations
to happen as well. You know, to systems level but as a whole range of things
that are in place around mentoring our early career teachers as
they enter the profession. One of the key principles I guess that guides the work in my school is
a concept of ownership. So, the models that I’ve talked about, all the projects that I’ve mentioned, are all co-developed with teachers. I don’t go into a teaching staff room
and say, “This is what we’re going to do,” there is opportunity at every step
along the way for teachers to both contribute to
the development of those models, to provide feedback and critique to
each other. I’m in there, boots and all,
developing lessons with them. They provide feedback
and critique to me. But I think developing a culture
in schools that allows teachers to have ownership and provides them
with the time and space to have those conversations is
really critical. PROF. BUCHANAN: Can I just come in
on that one too? There is a political dimension to
this, and that is the valuation of
teachers in the community. And if you’re going to talk
about support for teachers, there’s got to be a shift in resources. And the thing I really like about the New South Wales Education
Department is they’re not afraid to get
big ideas going. And I think that’s really good. I mean, I know they have employed me
for this project, but not many other education
departments in Australia are taking the risks that
this agency is. I just say we need to ginger
the debate up a bit more. Profit share of GDP has gone from 20
percent to 30 percent over the last 30 years. What’s the private sector done with it? They’ve given us a GFC
and 15 percent underemployment. I think we need to have a debate. As a society we are more productive
than we’ve ever been, we’ve got to have a debate about
what kind of society we want to be going into the future. John Dawkins, and I know he is
the former decent John Dawkins, but he coined an expression in
the 80s called the ‘clever country’. And I actually thought that was
quite a nice idea. And if we have this idea that as
we mature as a nation, we become known as the educated nation, I think we’ve got to do that. It’s only if you get that sense out
there that you’re going to get the shift in resources,
get that 30 percent of profit share down to say 25 percent and five
percent going to education, can you imagine if five percent
of extra GDP went into education? You wouldn’t know yourselves! There’d be less yachts on the harbour, there’d be fewer BMWs on the road, but we’d have a better education system. These are the kind of questions
I think we got to put out there. LESLIE LOBLE: A girl over here has a
question. Thank you. EMMA HOGAN: Can I just add to that? I was just going to say that I think… ..not so much in a political sense, but I think organisations need to
take a similar approach to learning as well. I think that this idea that we will
need to create lifelong learners, organisations need to take a really
different view around what learning in the workplace means. Especially, we talk about ‘re-skilling’. Or, you know, but we don’t get
talk realistically about how we might do that in a way that’s not just send everybody on a course
and hope for the best, but actually more dynamic ways of
learning the on role and evolving your career through sort of lattice moves rather
than ladder moves, if you like. I think there’s a lot more thought that needs to be given to learning
in the workplace. It’s not just, I mean, there’s a lot
we could learn from education. The education department
probably on that. But I do think that again, they’re two things that need to be
running in parallel. CATHY NICHOLSON: Oh, hi. Cathy
Nicholson from the New South Wales Teachers’ Federation.
Recently back from TAFE again. And Johnny, so wonderful to listen
to you as usual. Flexible and adaptable. Wondering if that was code for
‘dispensable’ in a casualised world. But that’s not my question.
My question is, the spectre of commodification
of education and marketisation of education has seen the decimation
of the TAFE sector across Australia. Critical really to a clever country, and I am wondering,
I liked the stuff you said about teachers becoming more assertive, I’m wondering what you think can be done to reignite a passion in this country to invest in vocational education. PROF. BUCHANAN: Well, I’m kind of
the number one fan of vocational education. And I think there’s a lot of people
who are interested in this question. John Howard even talks about the low
status of vocational education. You know, the heads of the BCA is
even saying TAFE’s been run into the ground. It’s what you do about it. And this is why, you know, I use the
expression very clearly, teachers are the anchor. You know, you cannot have a quality
education system without some anchor for quality. And the education department is very
strong on that. But we’ve also got to not look
backwards, we’ve got to look forward.
So, what does that mean? What does the teacher of the future
look like? And they’re probably going to look a
bit different to the teacher of the past. So, I’m a labour market researcher,
we tracked 8000 workers over five years, and one of the most
stable occupations were teachers. When you tracked them. And I think we’ve got to think about how we can give teachers a chance, you know, if you’re a history teacher, I think it would be great
if they could have a secondment in a policy department for six
months and learn about, you know, writing briefing notes and policy
papers and get policy people in teaching side-by-side with teachers
on the vocational side of things. Some of the best employers
are educators. They see themselves as the leading practitioner of the craft
in the workplace. Those people need to be supported. So, for me,
I’m optimistic in this regard. I think the 30 year experiment with shareholder value is now coming
under very critical questioning. You know, the banking Royal
Commission is opening up huge space, and when you question shareholder
value, what’s going to replace it? And this is where notions of like,
multi-stakeholder learning organisations can become
taken seriously as opposed to something that’s going
to compromise shareholder values. So, I know that’s a long way
of answering your question, but basically, if you want to get
beyond the current mess we’re in in vocational education, we’ve got
to have a broader vision of education, and we’ve got to tap
people’s love of learning, and in particular we’ve got to get
the best employers involved in the teaching community, and we’ve got to get the best
teachers in with the employer community. People know I’m not a flunky
for the business community, but they have a critical role
to play here. Currently they’re kind of missing
in action. They kind of throw grenades in,
they, you know, something from Boston Consulting
Group, they throw it and they run away. But what do they do day in day out? How many structured, on-the-job
placements are they creating? How many are like that abattoir and putting an educator in next
to the supervisors? These are the things we need to ask
the employer community because they got a very important role
to play. LESLIE LOBLE: In the back. ALLEN FECKETER: Allen Facketer,
I’m a University academic in the computing area. Had some wonderful stories and visions, but I’d like to direct the attention
to what I think is a dysfunction in the moment. The story of AI is that it’s going to
get rid of a lot of jobs or create new jobs,
but there’ll be a lot of competition, and that message of competition
is flowing all the way through. We see you know, grade three kids
going off to coaching so that they can get into an
opportunity class. Everywhere there is a story
that there aren’t going to be enough opportunities, and so people
have to fight against one another. How can we turn that around so that we can instead pull
off the cooperation and the group learning and all of
the wonderful things you’ve spoken about? LESLIE LOBLE: Was wondering if could
throw that to start with Rafa, because you think, as an a scientist, you think a lot about well-being
and AI. And I’m wondering if you could kick off. PROF: RAFAEL CALVO: Yes, I do. And I was reading an article over
the weekend on algorithmic bias. And what happens in algorithmic
bias is, let’s say you’re enquiring
your favourite search engine, the top hits are the ones you’re
more likely to click on, right? And because they are the most
likely to click on, they’re also going to be the ones
that are going to appear more and more often. So, something that started there is more likely to appear and appear and
become bigger and bigger and bigger. And that kind of bias happens
in different ways. So, there you have the
system that is the AI system that produces the search results. But in policy-making,
you have also similar forms of bias. And that possibly has to do
with what Allen is saying about, for example, selective schools, where you will have groups that can
send the kids to tutoring to train for the selective school for years ahead of time, and they are more likely
to get in there, and then they’re more likely
to perpetuate biases in the system. I personally didn’t want my kids to
be spending, you know, Saturday going to tutoring,
maths tutoring. But then when I see in some schools
is that if you’re not in the opportunity class,
maybe the opportunities are… ..the difference is very big. And maybe it’s just circumstantial. So, I don’t know the statistics on formal education and research,
but that’s what I see as a parent, and what I see when I talk to other
parents. Especially those who don’t want to
fall into that bias-creating system. So, the Australian system is…
I come from Argentina. For example,
vocational education is the role model. Everybody there who works in vocational education sees
Australia as the way to go. And I think it happens in many
different aspects. So, we’re very lucky
we have a multicultural society that is fantastic. We have a system that is very fair,
I will say. It has obviously different
levels of equality and inequality, and it has a government that cares. And those three things are rare.
Not many countries got that. So we’re very lucky. LESLIE LOBLE: Stacey, you said
before you’re very optimistic. STACEY QUINCE: Yeah. To the question
around selection and, you know, the support that is provided
to students, I am a principal at a performing
at high school. About 40 percent of our students
get in via audition into dance, drama, music, and circus. We know that the arts is important,
has the capacity to change lives, and we ensure that all students in
our school have access to the arts. But we also ensure that all students
in our school have access to academically rigorous and
deeply engaging learning experiences through STEM and through humanities. So again, I don’t think
it’s an either/or. And if we go back to this question around how we can equip our teachers and really position the,
to provide the best possible support for all students, then that notion
of coaching and you know, getting into a selective school
falls away, but actually all our public
schools have the capacity to provide deep, rich, engaging, academically challenging learning
experiences for all our students. And our teachers are in the best
position is to make decisions about the sorts of learning
experiences they want offered to students in their class, because they know those students
really well. So, I’m really optimistic
because I see so many practises that are happening across the system that are doing this work well,
and it is not without its challenges. There’s no doubt about that, but we know that this has got
the potential to scale. I presented at a conference this
morning, there was about 20 schools there
represented, all there with teams,
and every single one of those schools in a regional area
is really committed to this work. They were specifically wanting
to find out about how they can help the students to develop both the
skills and the knowledge they need through applied learning models to really deepen engagement in learning. And I hear those conversations
all the time. That’s what makes me optimistic. LESLIE LOBLE: Sorry, where’s
the… there’s another question. There. Sorry.
LINA MARKAUSKAITE: Thank you. Thank you for an interesting report
and for an interesting presentation. My name is Lina Markauskaite from the Centre for Research
on Learning On Innovation. My question though is related
but slightly different. So, we’re talking now about AI in general in society, but AI also
will change education itself. And specifically I imagine that perhaps teachers jobs will not be
the same in the future. In 2040, as it is now, and will be completely free
of artificial intelligence. Are there just, I’m really looking for the panel’s thoughts
on these issues. So, how our educational system as the system will become more
enabled by artificial intelligence and how teachers jobs will
change in 2040. Thank you. EMMA HOGAN: Probably not me. STACEY QUINCE: I think that
technology will be an enabler, and I think artificial intelligence
will change for instance some of the ways that we might
assess students and some of the ways that we might get data back
around student performance. But that is not the endgame in and
of itself, and good teaching relies on great
relationships between teachers, students, and parents. And a lot of the research has been done
makes it clear that teaching is not a profession
that’s at risk in terms of going altogether, but we do know that the nature
of teaching will change slightly. I see that that technology has the
capacity to free us up from some of the work that we do
currently around admin and assessment and marking and
provide us with rich data quickly. It won’t be the only way that we
assess students, but actually I think that the role
of teachers and the relationships they build with students are fundamental and I think will continue to see how
important that is, possibly even more so given the role
technology plays in students lives outside of school
from now until 2040 and beyond. PROF. BUCHANAN: And can I come in
there? If you look at the way computerisation went through the
engineering and manufacturing sector in the 60s and 70s, there’s very
good comparative studies comparing how the Americans did it
and how the Germans did it. And the Germans used advanced
computational power to augment the power of their trades
and their craft people. The Americans did it to displace it. And I think there’s quite
an interesting debate which I read coming out of some of the references
you actually gave me, Lina, about the future of curriculum, and it actually showed that
technology should be seen as something that can enrich the
curriculum, not replace the teacher. And I think that that’s
the way to have the debate. But it is quite a transformation, but I think once again it’s
something we get excited about, not threatened about, but that’s as
long as we take, say, the German approach out of
manufacturing as opposed to the US. LESLIE LOBLE: So, I remember last
year there was, you know, a spate of economic analyses about
which jobs are going to disappear. And there was a bit of an exchange
on Twitter where people pointed out that Mark’s
job is going to go before a teacher’s job. MAN: (INAUDIBLE) LESLIE LOBLE: Last question goes
to… OK. Natasha. NATASHA WATT: Hi, Natasha Watt,
transformation team department and Woonona High School.
Can’t decide which one. Still new to both. My question is around systems. Not all kids come from families
where they have the cultural capital to navigate things, and not all parents can do that. There’s been a lot of anecdotes
around this fairly educated group of people, and being parents, but what about those other
children from other families? How do we ensure that our systems look after those people so everyone
has access and opportunity? In particular, how do we make sure
our system of syllabuses and what is written in those, everybody’s looked after
as things evolve? And secondly,
around systems of assessment, there is a quick jump to critiquing
the HSC like it’s the issue. What the HSC still does do
is draws a… It writes into it a standard across
different subjects that all kids can access no matter what their background,
no matter what their school. So, it still allows all kids access to a higher intellectual standard too. So, how do we make sure all kids are
accessing that if they need to and want to and can do? PROF. BUCHANAN:
Can I have first go at that? Once again, I don’t think education
can solve all those problems. I mean, I think this is where you
got to look at links with social policy,
and I notice we’ve got people here from the Smith family, for example. You know, schools cannot do
this on their own, and you gotta look at what it
takes to build communities. Like, for instance, I know in some
of the less well endowed schools in Melbourne, the CFMEU provides
breakfast for kids, because a whole lot of kids turn
up without having had breakfast. So, at the most basic level it’s
giving people the wherewithal to actually get through the day. And I think the work I originally did
for Leslie was in 2001, was around the notion
of skill ecosystems. You’ve got to look at the ecosystem
around the community, and who are the players. The school is one part of it,
but that’s why when we talk about a new settlement you’ve actually got
to look at what role are employers playing, what role are
social policy agencies playing. I also think one of the big
underutilised resources in our society is in aged care homes. There’s a whole lot of people with a
lot of time on their hands, they’re actually quite skilled,
and I think we need to link the younger generation and the
underutilised old generation. But that’s what I mean by a
new settlement. I think it’s very hard for the
education system to do that on its own. It must do it in concert with other
social agents. LESLIE LOBLE: I’m going to now move
to the last question. David. DAVID DE CARVALHO:
Hi, David De Carvalho, Chief Executive of the New South
Wales Education Standards Authority. So, a few weeks ago the Premier and the education minister announced that we’ll be having a fundamental
review of the whole of the New South Wales curriculum, the first time it’s been done
since 1989. So, the board is meeting next week and it’s going to be finalising
the terms of reference. We’ve already had extensive
consultation with key stakeholders. Internationally as well
is in the state and nationally. So, my question to you, and I hope
you each get a chance to answer it very quickly, what’s the one
question you would suggest we need to answer in the review? Try to be a little bit more specific
than, “How can we help kids flourish
in the 21st century?” And you don’t have to explain why
your answer is the answer, if you could just give it to us, thanks. (LAUGHTER) LESLIE LOBLE: Help him write the
consultation paper. John, you start. PROF. BUCHANAN: I mean, if the
others want to speak first… LESLIE LOBLE: No, we’ll go down the
row. We’re going to go down the row
this way. PROF. BUCHANAN: We actually take
this up in the back half of the report, and it goes to that
question I was posing earlier, what does the future of expertise
look like? And we actually say that we
need to think about what we call ‘vocational domains’. And this is something we’re actually researching with the Department
of industry at the moment. Currently the vocational education
training system is structured around competencies which atomise skill, and then aggregated them into
fragmented qualifications. We actually say, what are the
domains that give people an underlying expertise that can be
deployed in a range of areas? The classic case is care work. Currently we have aged care workers, disability support workers, drug and
alcohol workers, youth workers… There is an underlying domain of care. How can we define that in a way that
gives people the capacity to get an ability to think broadly
and then be rapidly redeployed? LESLIE LOBLE: OK. We’re gonna…
if you want everybody, we’re gonna go fast. Emma. EMMA HOGAN: OK. Well, I feel very on
the spot, not working in the education system
myself. But I’m on the board of AIM, the Indigenous mentoring experience,
and it was just reflecting on your point then about how are we helping
kids that perhaps don’t have a real cultural structure
at home to help them with education. So, I would be looking at not just
the curriculum but what’s the holistic support
around it? LESLIE LOBLE: Stacey. STACEY QUINCE: Probably no surprise, my answer is what’s the knowledge
and understandings and the skills that students will
need to thrive beyond school, and how can we create the space
in the curriculum to allow teachers to have some judgement about
what that looks like as it lands in the classroom
whilst maintaining a high-quality curriculum for all students? LESLIE LOBLE: Sandra. DR. PETER: Well, the good ones have
been taken, so I’ll go to the controversial one,
which is “What would you take out?” All these conversations about the
curriculum about what we put in, and there’s extra every time
we do this. What do we need to take out
to actually leave space to breathe? LESLIE LOBLE: Rafa. PROF. CALVO: You took another one.
(LAUGHS) Although, I’m an engineer
so I have to talk about computers. I think looking into the impact
of the technologies, not just as a productivity tool
but also the impact they have on the psychological well-being
of the individual is very important. Terrific. That brings to a close this session. We’ve got only a tiny, tiny bit more
and then drinks. So, look, please join me in thanking
a terrific panel. Appreciate the time. Are we good to go? JACKIE: Hi, I’m Jackie Hayes.
I’ll be very brief. I’ve got the great privilege of working on this project with the department and we get to work on a really broad
series of issues, and we want to thank the Sydney
University team for challenging us to think very broadly,
taking a multidisciplinary approach. Some days it’s utopian,
and some days it’s dystopian and some days it’s both
at the same time, and I think Sandra’s comment
about we need… We’re challenged both by the
inequalities of hope and in instilling a sense of agency explains both of those things that
we’re challenged by and we have to think through
in terms of the Department of Education.
So, thank you for the panel, thank you to Sydney University. Thank you to everyone who has joined
us on the live stream as well. There’s been a couple of hundred
people who have joined us today and we’d welcome everyone staying
to continue this discussion with some refreshments,
out to your right. Thank you very much. (APPLAUSE)

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