Postformal Education: A Philosophy for Complex Futures (Critical Studies of Education)

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9783319290683: Postformal Education: A Philosophy for Complex Futures (Critical Studies of Education)
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This book explains why the current education model, which was developed in the 19th century to meet the needs of industrial expansion, is obsolete. It points to the need for a new approach to education designed to prepare young people for global uncertainty, accelerating change and unprecedented complexity.The book offers a new educational philosophy to awaken the creative, big-picture and long-term thinking that will help equip students to face tomorrow’s challenges. Inside, readers will find a dialogue between adult developmental psychology research on higher stages of reasoning and today’s most evolved education research and practice. This dialogue reveals surprising links between play and wisdom, imagination and ecology, holism and love. The overwhelming issues of global climate crisis, growing economic disparity and the youth mental health epidemic reveal how dramatically the current education model has failed students and educators. This book raises a planet-wide call to deeply question how we actually think and how we must educate. It articulates a postformal education philosophy as a foundation for educational futures.The book will appeal to educators, educational philosophers, pre-service teacher educators, educational and developmental psychologists and educational researchers, including postgraduates with an interest in transformational educational theories designed for the complexity of the 21st century.
This is the most compelling book on education I have read for many years. It has major implications for all who are in a position to influence developments in teacher education and educational policy. Gidley is one of the very rare scholars who can write intelligently and accessibly about the past, present and future in education. I was challenged and ultimately convinced by her contention that ‘what masquerades as education today must be seen for what it is – an anachronistic relic of the industrial past’. Gidley’s challenge is to ‘co-evolve’ a radically new education.  All who seek to play a part must read this book.
Brian J. Caldwell, PhD, Educational Transformations, former Dean of Education at the University of Melbourne and Deputy Chair, Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)

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About the Author:

Jennifer is an Australian futurist, author, psychologist and educator. She is a global thought leader and advocate for human-centred futures in an era of hi-tech hype and hubris. As former President of the World Futures Studies Federation (2009-2017), a UNESCO and UN partner and global peak body for futures studies, she led a network of hundreds of world leading futures scholars and researchers from around the globe. 
An Adjunct Professor at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, UTS, Sydney, she has worked as an academic in three other Australian universities, including the Swinburne University MSc (Strategic Foresight). She holds research fellowships in Europe. 
Jennifer is a prolific author of dozens of academic papers, serves on several academic boards, and most recently authored The Future: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2017) & Postformal Education: A Philosophy for Complex Futures (Springer, 2016). 

Review:

"It is with great enthusiasm that I read Jennifer Gidley's masterful work that develops thought about education to a new level! The old, almost mechanistic, view of education must make way for what Gidley calls "postformal education" if we are to shape a rich future for human development. I'm surprised it took only ten years to write this amazing book, one that could turn thinking about education around. I could not ask for a better application of postformal theory!" 
- Jan D. Sinnott, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Towson University, Maryland, USA, author of "The Development of Logic in Adulthood: Postformal Thought and Its Applications" (1998) Springer.
"This is the book we have all been waiting for and should be read by educators, policy makers and everyone interested in the future through the transformative power of education in creating a wiser, more caring world with a vibrant future. This path-breaking book synthesizes the new thinking of philosophers in diverse areas of knowledge of the 20th century into a new model of integral education for a 21st century Integrative Age. There are many books on what is wrong with education but few on how to make fundamental systemic change." 

- David K. Scott, PhD, Former Chancellor, University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Leading thinker on integrating science and spirituality, co-editor: "Integrative Learning and Action: A Call to Wholeness" (2006) Peter Lang Publishers.

"Jennifer Gidley is one of the most provocative and important thinkers in education today. Her vision draws on the epic story of the evolution of consciousness as she presents us with the past, present and possible future of education. Interweaving ancient wisdom and the latest research, Gidley articulates an inspiring new and radical revisioning of the nature, mission, and role of education." 

-  Alfonso Montuori, PhD, Professor Transformative Studies Department, School of Consciousness and Transformation, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, editor: "Journeys in Complexity" (2014) Routledge.

"An extraordinary triumph of scholarship that builds a bridge from the past to the future. It envisions futures of wisdom and gifts readers with everyday applicable concepts, empowering them to articulate a new world and language it into being." -Earl de Blonville, FRGS, Founder Postformal Leadership "One of the top six leadership thinkers in Australia" - BRW 2012.
"This important book is a labour of love that brims with profound thought, wide ranging research, an overarching spiritual vision and commitment to an educational renaissance that is desperately needed around our troubled world. By linking the evolution of consciousness, aesthetic values, child-development, the art of teaching, post-formal thinking, contemplative insights and social commitment it is a resource of great value. For today's educational activists, it provides a solid and inspiring foundation for us to continue working in order to create an education that our children really need and deserve." 

- Christopher Clouder, FRSA, co-editor: "The Future of Childhood" (2000) Hawthorn Press. CEO - European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education (1991 - 2011). Pedagogical Director: Il Liceo dei Colli, Florence, Italy.

"Few books offer such a broad scope of transdisciplinary scholarship, nor attempt to defend an education which takes aim at 'planet-sized' problems. 'Postformal Education: A Philosophy for Complex Futures' is such a book. Jennifer M Gidley creates a tapestry for 'radical change' in education... drawing conceptual bridges across traditional disciplinary boundaries to demonstrate how highly creative pedagogies can emerge... The book is propelled by an urgent and passionate need to address the problem of human meaning-making and thinking that Gidley sees as underlying the large-scale issues facing humanity in environmental, psychological, socio-cultural and politico-economic terms...
Education, she argues, must be brought back to life; its core orientation shifted to new foundations that re-humanise dead thinking... Each facet of this philosophy's 'dynamic centre' presents with practical and creative teaching examples, many reflecting Gidley's own teaching experiences."
(Daniella J. Forster, School of Education, The University of Newcastle, Policy Futures in Education, Vol. 15 (3), pp. 400-403.)

"Postformal Education: A Philosophy for Complex  Futures... explores the future of education pedagogy. Jennifer Gidley has produced a work that repays studying. It ... sows seeds. There is much here to repay contemplation. For Dr. Gidley, it is an invite to think about what comes after the still-dominant model based on the factory or warehouse. It is a book to stir up our thinking and the education system. It is unself consciously "about radical change". 
It takes a grand historical sweep. Dr. Gidley chronicles how Aztec culture was the first known one with mandatory education and how mass formal schooling has only been around for a couple of centuries. Gidley works up to a comprehensive framework in the form of a wheel based around love, live, wisdom and voice (p.179). This model resonates to the contemporary work of organization improvement more generally. The book challenges the dominant pedagogy: the one that has served the elite of our elite institutions, even if not their children."
(Phil Hadridge, Director, IDENK, Cambridge, UK, Foresight,Vol. 19 (1), pp. 81-82)

"What masquerades for education today must be seen for what it  is: an anachronistic relic of the industrial past." Gidley's solution is an education based on four core values - love, life, wisdom and voice. Without "voice" in an age of proliferating communication devices and social media, the first three will be harder to incorporate. The style, design, and construction of the book model its holistic, integrative content. In a breathtaking voyage through the past, present, and future, this book synthesizes an extraordinary wealth of research from philosophers, scientists, psychologists, educators, sociologists, all drawn together in this far-reaching book. 
 
There are many nascent movements - integral and integrative learning, contemplative practice, meditation, and spirituality in education - giving intimations of the transformation advocated in this book. Presently, these movements are like separately flowing streams. This path-breaking work by Gidley  leads to a convergence of the streams into one river, carving out a path for educating future generations to be more humane, caring, and committed to building a better and wiser world. Everyone interested in a better future should read this book. It may inspire us to act before it is too late."
(David K. Scott, Former Chancellor, University of Massachusetts (Amherst), Research Bulletin, Vol. 22 (1), pp. 66-68.) 

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