What can education not teach?

Teaching and learning from the emerging future

Develop lessons from the emerging future

Since schools are very much tied to their social context, innovations cannot be implemented according to a prefabricated master plan, because they are based on the conditions of the school social space. Therefore, decisions for school development cannot be made based on the question of the right or wrong policy, but require that policy enactment at the respective school location (Ball, Maguire & Braun 2012), which includes the development and design of cooperation, the expansion of school culture as well as includes socially shaped and structurally formed management action under complex conditions. The effect of the lessons results from the emerging future of the "truth of the situation" (Schulz von Thun 1998, p. 306), that is, from the coherence required in the respective situation. The latter requires the double correspondence between the actors involved (teachers and students) and “the content of the situation (in its systemic context)” (ibid.). Negotiating the situational consistency is necessary because political guidelines in the education system cannot be implemented in the way they are intended using state control modes.

Change processes are about emergent complexity, as the problems are characterized by non-linear changes, which means that no proven experience from the past is available. "To act from a future possibility [means] to act from an authentic presence of the moment - from the now" (Scharmer 2009, p. 74). It is about a dimension that can be experienced as “a kind of 'deep resonance' in the world” (Rosa 2016, p. 197). This means that directing attention to the processes taking place in the here and now creates a feeling of emotion that enables openness to cope with new experiences. In this feeling of being touched, the relationship to the world and to others also changes the relationship to the self (Krenn 2017), because “every initiative includes a moment of creative design, the essence of which evades mere derivation through circumstances; Inventions create something new ”(Fauser 2016, p. 175). In conventional didactic planning it is difficult to anticipate such creative moments due to the legitimizing assumptions.

Digital media can play an outstanding role in order to get into the mode of the “emerging future” (Scharmer 2009) or “deep resonance” (Rosa 2016). In a study on the use of the new information and communication media (Mayr, Resinger & Schratz 2009), we were able to find out the following developments in teaching practice at Austrian schools:

The use of digital media, for example whiteboards and tablets, can serve as a starting point for discussing a reorientation in didactics, as unknown methodological approaches can be opened up. - Digitization can lead to an opening up of the forms of teaching, as the media used give schoolchildren more opportunities to do their own work and encourage student engagement.

  • The digital media can provide an impetus for the personalization of the lessons, since “the learning offers can be tailored more or less precisely to the individual pupils” (Holmes, Anastopoulou, Schaumburg & Mavrikis 2018, p. 11). - Dealing with digitization in schools can prove to be a door opener for interdisciplinary teaching, since current topics and texts from the Internet are context-bound and require a multi-perspective approach or interdisciplinary processing.
  • The associated selection and use of digital media, even instead of classic school books, can prove to be the key to teamwork, as far-reaching decisions have to be made jointly by the teachers concerned.
  • The use of learning platforms can lead to a new networking of knowledge, whereby different contributions from students and teachers come into closer relation.
  • The digital exchange in different groups of actors (teachers, schoolchildren, etc.) can create professional learning communities when they are networked (cf. Schratz & Westfall-Greiter 2010, pp. 119ff.). Such networks make "an essential contribution to opening up thinking and becoming creative workshops for learning" (Katzmair 2016, p. 2).

If you look at the effects of the use of digital media listed here as a whole, they tend to be oriented towards learning. While conventional didactic activities are mostly influenced by the teaching side (cf. Schratz 2018), digital media encourage greater student participation (student engagement). In the context of digital media, student participation has become a central quality factor, which holistically summarizes the social, emotional and cognitive participation of students in the classroom (Christenson, Reschly & Wylie 2012, p. 17). Findings suggest that subject-specific lessons, i.e. cognitive participation, are not enough for female pupils to exhaust or even exceed their own potential through their own commitment in school. Just as important for them are the social and emotional aspects, which, together with the technical (training) education, are ostensibly part of the educational mission of the school. Participation in this sense is a holistic phenomenon that encourages getting involved in what is happening in the classroom and encourages students to invest their energy in their learning (Maehr & Midgley 1996, p. 27). In addition, research shows a clear correlation between learning success and student participation (Marks 2000, p. 155f.) - for them the degree of attention, interest and effort that students show in classroom activities.