Saturday 16th January 2016 at the International Labour Office, Geneva, Switzerland

It is a commonplace for adults to tell children that the world has changed since they were young and yet never has this been more true. The power of technology has altered our daily lives and the impact we have on our environment in dramatic ways. The history of the world has been marked by wars and waves of migration, but the global village in which we live today means that we are immediately aware of what takes place far from our homes and increasingly are affected directly by it. As parents, as educators, as global citizen's, it is our obligation to prepare our children for an ever rapidly changing future in which technological innovations, the vagaries of the global market, the effects of global warming, and endemic violence based on cultural and religious antagonisms pose ever increasing challenges to the stability of society.

 

To say that education must have an ethical component is equally commonplace and hearkens back to Antiquity. Aristotle wrote that “to each… there comes just so much happiness as he has of virtue and of practical wisdom and performs actions dependent thereon” (Politics, VII, i).

From its inception, The International School of Geneva has undertaken this Aristotelian approach as is evident in its policy on the promotion of the school’s values that include citizenship education based on “an understanding of fundamental human rights, the rights and duties of citizens, major issues confronting the contemporary world, and the need for action to preserve the planet for future generations.”

Historically, educators have taught children in order for them to assimilate a body of knowledge recognized by time and place as canonical. However, it is no longer possible to develop encyclopedic knowledge; the body of knowledge at humanity’s disposal extends far beyond the possibility of individual mastery. What is increasingly required is flexibility in virtuous habits of mind that allow one to engage in a trans-disciplinary application of knowledge to solve problems. Our children become the citizens of the future who will safeguard the principles and values of their societies. As educators, then, we must consider more than the act of imparting knowledge; we must consider the ethical and the political much as Aristotle maintained centuries ago.

The renowned speakers we are fortunate to have with us for this Education Conference offer us the possibility to reflect on some of those precise issues that confront the world today in even its most remote corners. They urge us to consider the moral and ethical implications of education in an increasingly complex and integrated world.

Dr Karen L. Taylor
Director of Education

Programme, speakers, practical info (PDF file, in English and French)

Newsflash

FROM URGENCY TO AGENCY – Sustainability at the Heart of Learning

Sustainability Workshop 26th & 27th November 2021

The UN has called ‘Code Red for Humanity’ in its most recent IPCC report. How do we as educators mitigate the climate anxiety our students may experience (and staff, we might add) and use it as an opportunity to forge local actions? In this workshop we base ourselves on the conviction that schools are capable of, and obligated to, play an important role in mitigating Climate Change.

In our view, schools should reinvent themselves to become learning communities that go beyond preparing for the future; instead they should help shape that future, by allowing students and educators to prototype solutions for today’s challenges. By allowing students to actively engage with the local impacts of Climate Change, they could learn about the SDGs, Systems Thinking, Design Thinking, collaboration, etc - all skills which will serve them well in their further lives. In that way, sustainability can become a core driver of education, very much in line with IBO’s vision about student agency. It will allow for learning to be challenge-based, relevant, local and utterly engaging. It will give students a voice and allow them to make necessary changes in their school environment, at home and beyond.

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