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What does #Brexit and #ElectionDay tell us about education?

2 min read

The evidence-informed answer to my title questions is nothing. However, what it has told me is that opinion now Trumps evidence. This is beautifully epitomised by this interview

I no longer believe I can beat them so I will vent with a apocalyptic vision of my own.

I have spent the last decade slowly edging away from traditional lecturing towards an evidence-based active learning strategy. And until last year I had managed to do so without compromising on popularity. 

I have always tried to level with my students, to explain why we were working in the lecture theatre. However, mid- and final- evaluations revealed that my practice, indeed the evidence on which it was based was contested. "Lancaster thinks active learning works, he is wrong.", "Lancaster expects understanding he doesn't simply provide solutiions". Can you see the parallels? Now the UK has the TEF, which will measure everything but how much meaningful learning has taken place. 

It is much easier to be popular than effective. And to take issue with Al Gore, we live in an age where the truth is no longer inconvenient. If you don't like it then just invent your own.

And yet in the UK it is the young who protest the loudest about the injustice of Brexit. Will they make better decisions? To be frank, I think our current shallow, simplistic and popularist approach to education is setting us up for misjudgements that will make 2016 look like a good year.

Addendum "post-truth" is Oxford English Dictionary's word of the year 2016