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Educational change, inertia and potential futures

Educational change, inertia and potential futures

Titill: Educational change, inertia and potential futures
Höfundur: Jónasson, Jón Torfi   orcid.org/0000-0001-7580-3033
Útgáfa: 2016-10-20
Tungumál: Enska
Umfang: 1-14
Háskóli/Stofnun: University of Iceland
Háskóli Íslands
Svið: School of Education
DOI: 10.1007/s40309-016-0087-z
Efnisorð: Futures; Education; Aims; Curriculum; Change; Menntabreytingar; Markmið
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11815/200

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Jónasson, J.T. (2016). Educational change, inertia and potential futures. Eur J Futures Res, 4(1), 1-14. doi:10.1007/s40309-016-0087-z


The point of departure of the paper is that there are profound social, cultural, technological, scientific and environmental changes which occur at most local but also at global levels of the modern world. From these will stem huge challenges in all spheres of life. These demand changes in education, not necessarily in the system or how it operates, but perhaps in its aims, and most certainly in its content. Knowledge that was once powerful to understand the world, to develop as a person and address the challenges of life, should be replaced with new knowledge which may often be outside the traditional disciplines. Moreover, a host of new skills may be relevant for the world of tomorrow. There are, however, many obstacles to change, both reasonable and unreasonable ones. The thrust of the paper is to provide a discussion of nine categories of inertia or constraints that are seen to stifle change, in particular, as it relates to the content of education. The categories are discussed under the headings of general conservativism, system stability, standards, fuzziness of new ideas, the strength of old ideas, vested interests, teacher education, lack of space and motivation for initiative, and lack of consequence of no change. Added to this there are serious logistic problems for those who want to foster change. It is argued that very little change in content will be seen if these inertial constraints are not recognised. Assuming there is a will to change, the institutional infrastructures that should facilitate sustained change must be scutinised and it must be ensured that the teachers, i.e. the professionals that operate the system, are involved.


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