As recently as in the 1920s, cyclists in the Tour de France would take ‘smoking breaks’, assisting team-mates to light-up while still cycling.
Since then, scientific research and evidence has well and truly debunked the myth that smoking is good for athletic performance.
In some ways, education today is like medicine was before science. It is vulnerable to emotions, ideologies and our individual beliefs: the prisms through which we view the world.
At one end of one of these prisms sits enlightenment science: the notion that everything can be resolved through measuring outcomes and assessing cold hard facts. At the other end of this prism sits romanticism. Borne originally from an eighteenth-century backlash against the extremes of the scientific Enlightenment, educational romantics espouse spontaneity and the natural order.
And it is perhaps inevitable that in a country as beautiful, wild and free as New Zealand romantic ideas should flourish. But such tendencies can also lead us to dismiss the science too quickly.
Ultimately, the joy and adventure of life lies in how we navigate and balance competing beliefs and values. And education abounds with conundrums. For example, when, and to what extent should we rely on:
- the natural goodness of the child, or imposed discipline?
- student-led learning, or teacher-led instruction?
- a prescribed national curriculum, or one determined by local contexts?
- the natural order, or concerted efforts towards equity?
These are just some of the topics that will be explored at researchED Auckland on 2nd June.
A truly unique, teacher-led phenomenon, researchED bridges the gap between evidence and practice. Having begun in the UK in 2013, researchED has since spread to Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, America, Canada and now - through partnership with The New Zealand Initiative – New Zealand.
researchED brings people together from all areas of education for an exhilarating day of myth-busting, learning and debate.
So, if you or a friend are a teacher, parent, grandparent, school trustee, policymaker or researcher, we hope you will join us at Auckland Grammar School on Saturday 2nd June.
For more information about our incredible line-up of 20+ Kiwi and international, evidence-informed speakers, and to buy tickets (just $40 including lunch) please visit the researchED website.