“Educating for Change”
Why are we in teaching and learning if not to be able to help enrich the lives of our students? Educational institutions at all levels, and of all types, should continue to strive for social change in today’s world. Beyond the apparent simplicity of our conference theme, however, there is great scope for wide-ranging responses to the question of just how we go about educating for change, by examining the inherent challenges and responsibilities faced by educators the world over.
Education, too frequently, is the victim of politics, and, worse, sometimes ideologies. Politicians and bureaucrats devise and implement policies to effect change that range from curriculum structure and goals to manipulating budgets on behalf of interest groups and their lobbyists. Questions relating to accountability, transparent governance and community relations are too frequently avoided.
Within the classroom itself, bridging the gap between policy, theory and practice, whether traditional or virtual, teachers and professors de facto become, at varying levels, agents for change. Beyond providing students with resources for study in given fields, they also support them by often being seen as acting not merely as mentors, but also as role models.
These issues are part of the global transformation affecting all human civilisation. How can we as teachers function effectively in a very uncertain environment? How do we help to equip our students with the intellectual and existential tools they require? How do we narrow the gap between theory and practice? How do we make decisions about curriculum and course context in the face of political pressure and social norms? What is the role of interdisciplinary studies in educating for change? And, at the macro level, how can we stimulate awareness of issues such as education assisting the promotion of social justice?
This conference, part of IAFOR’s global conference series on education, in its broadest sense brings together teachers, researchers and distinguished professors from around the world to share their insights. The goal is to broaden awareness of different contexts in the pursuit of synergies and solutions. We look forward to your active participation in this vital field of future-oriented academic activity of The International Academic Forum.
In conjunction with our Global Partners, including Waseda University and The Japan Association of Language Teaching (JALT), we look forward to extending you a warm welcome in 2017.