University of Tasmania

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Education for tomorrow or education for the individual: What works for the future?

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 03:01 authored by Stephens, E
This theoretical paper explores current literature relative to challenges faced by early childhood teachers in relation to the increasing accountability to improve measureable literacy and numeracy skills in young children. This sits within a context which has a developing focus on preparing children for the role they will play in future society. The potential detrimental outcomes that more traditional responses to these challenges may have for young children, particularly those who have experienced early trauma, will be discussed. There is a feeling of increasing academic "push down", where, even for our youngest children, formal literacy and numeracy skills are becoming a measurable outcome of successful education systems and individuals teaching within them. Formal and external measureable assessment processes seem to be driving the shift from contemporary play based, child centred pedagogical approaches, recognised by early childhood educators as "best practice", back to more traditional formal "sit down" pencil and paper activities. This change is problematic for all children, but is perhaps of greater significance for those who have experienced early loss and trauma. The negative consequences that trauma may have on the development of a child is well documented. The impact of early trauma can affect the way children make sense of their world and learn, particularly in the classroom environment. Teachers' responses to children in trauma, can have a lasting effect on a child's capacity to function and learn. Schools can be safe and predictable places, where learning occurs, or they can exacerbate the impact of trauma already experienced. Practice and pedagogy play a huge role in how school is experienced by the child. Thus, the choices teachers make in how they respond to the challenges they face can have far reaching effects on children and their success. This paper discusses the potential options educators may have and suggests alternatives to more traditional formal approaches when responding to these challenges, where even our most vulnerable children can be given the opportunity to be successful learners who can become valued members of society and contribute meaningfully to the world of tomorrow.


Publication title

Forum on Public Policy








School of Creative Arts and Media


Forum on Public Policy

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

© 2015 Forum On Public Policy. All Rights Reserved.

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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Teacher and instructor development

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