Early Learning Educators Talk to Start Up Van

Faye and Mark Woodland with Start Up Van

Graham: Derrick, Fay, welcome to The Startup Van. 

Fay: Thank you. 

Mark: Finally welcome to Startup Van, yeah. 

Derrick: Fantastic. I have seen it. 

Fay: It’s good. 

Derrick: Long time listener and viewer. First time in person. 

Mark: Great, great, well, it’s always good to have someone who’s been watching us in the van, which is always good. 

Derrick: Yes, love it, I love it. 

Graham: It’s really cool, it’s really cool, it’s been an incredible two days for us, it’s been fantastic and it’s great to finally get you both in The Startup Van. Well, you are in for the record-breaking moment. 

Fay: Always in for the record-breaking moment. 

Mark: Yeah, well done, 14 people. 

Fay: I think it was 15 in the end. 

Mark: Fifteen in the end. 

Derrick: Wow. 

Graham: That number increased every time I hear it. 

Mark: Where do we put them all? 

Fay: Was it 18, I don’t know. 

Mark: Yeah, yeah, look at them, look at them. 

Graham: So we want to chat to you guys about the future of education. We’ve been chatting to educators the past two days. They all have their different view on it. And some of them are very traditional views, some not so much. Mark, he obviously, has his own views on it. But we want to hear from you guys of where you think it’s going and where you think it needs to go, more importantly. 

Derrick: Yeah, well, education. The world’s changing and we know how the world is changing and I think that in education we’re looking very closely at how do we prepare our students for the future and that’s the catch cry phrase everywhere. 

Mark: Because they are the future. 

Derrick: Yeah, and they are the future. And look, soft skills seem to be the focus around the place. Having students who can be resilient, independent, co-work, serve, know how to communicate globally and effectively, know how to serve. And all those areas of soft skills is something in education no matter how old you are. Early years, right up to tertiary and as an adult. 

Mark: Yeah, of course, yeah. 

Derrick: We have to learn those soft skills well to able to work in the world and participate in the world and contribute to the world. 

Graham: Yeah, and the number one thing, I think we can say it now, we’re two days in, definitely, the number one thing we’ve heard is people were viewing us as babysitters. That was the number… And now they’re not. And now things are starting to change. 

Mark: They’re educators, they’re teachers, they’re professionals

Graham: Yeah, that and paper paperwork I think….

Derrick: The early years’ educators are the ones that do most of the work in developing resilience, co-working, teamwork, etcetera, with these young children and look, in schools and in universities, in the past, we’ve been criticised as destroying some of those soft skills. Taking too much emphasis on content and standardised testing, etcetera like that. So the early years really develop that well, and we need to continue developing it. 

Graham: Yeah, we do. We had a chat last night over… We were having food, about kids that are zero to five and they have these hopes and dreams, I wanna be a fireman, I wanna be a spaceman, whatever it might be. And it’s kind of bad omen to them when they go and they get to high school and that’s when you need to be… You should be this and you should be that, and you have guidance counsellors saying, “No, that doesn’t suit you.” Even though it might be someone’s dream. 

Mark: Yeah, from one test, what might suit someone. Growing up as an… I don’t like saying it, but I’m 38, I know I look 21. But it’s only recently I decided and knew what I wanted to do. So I don’t know how they expect anyone in school to kind of go, “Oh, this is your future and this is the way you should be focusing and that’s what you will grow up to be.” We’re here to obviously promote entrepreneurship in schools, and it’s all about following your dream and following your goal. Whenever that might come up. 

Fay: I feel the future is with our children, but, the future has to be guided by the teachers and I feel and you touched on it before, when you said teachers are feeling that they’re just… People are looking at them as just babysitters. There’s a lot of things that we need to do to increase the level of skills in our teachers as well. 

Mark: Of course. 

Fay: Because the children are only going to be resilient as their teachers are. And so there has to be a whole… We have to look at how we can empower teachers, how we can make them develop a passion. How do you teach teachers that? And I dare say that you can’t teach teachers that, you have to… They have to have it modelled. Just like the children need things modelled, the teachers do too. So I see the future of education as developing a better understanding about what teachers need to do to teach and to educate and to guide. And yes, our children are our future, and our children need to have all those soft skills that Derrick talked about. But that’s only gonna be as good as the teachers are. 

Mark: Yeah, of course. Because they’re passing it on. 

Fay: Absolutely. And at the moment, I wonder whether we’re getting it. We know that our children need to be resilient, and caring and sharing, and look after the environment, all those wonderful things. But we need teachers to teach it. And I’m not sure we’re teaching our teachers well enough. 

Mark: Yeah. Okay, that could always be improved, yeah. 

Graham: Yeah, there was a few comments over the past two days about they’re losing a lot of good educators because of low wage. 

Fay: Yes, and I was going to get on to that. In the first five years, we have a huge dropout. First five years of a teacher’s career, we have a huge drop out from the profession. A lot of people leave in the first five years. 

Mark: Why is that? 

Graham: Particularly in Australia, yeah. 

Fay: Particularly in Australia. I’ve been asked that question by many people and my interpretation of that, and I’ve done… I’ve been involved in the teaching industry now for about 45 years. Okay? About 45 years.  And I’ve seen that dropout but I’ve also seen why teachers… Teachers come out of university with a high theoretical knowledge, a wonderfully high theoretical knowledge. But it’s not balanced with a good practical knowledge and so these poor teachers come out into the classroom with all the theories. And all the knowledge and they’re clever, clever, passionate people and they get shattered because the theory that they’ve learned doesn’t match the day-to-day catering for young children, older children, adolescents, parents, their boss, everything. They have no practical knowledge. And then, they have no mentor. No one is guiding them. No one is guiding them in that first five critical years and they just have no mentor. 

Mark: Yeah. And then, they’re not being rewarded properly. 

Fay: Yes. And then, they’re not being rewarded properly. Derrick and I have travelled the world with Xplor and we’ve been to different countries. And in the different… Without naming any country, there are some countries that value teaching and education amazingly. And therefore value teachers and respect them and they have a real focus in the community. And there are countries like that and then there are countries that underpay, don’t train their teachers properly. Teachers are considered as babysitters. Why is that? Why is that? 

Mark: Everyone needs to realise, it’s gonna have the knock on effect. 

Fay: Absolutely. 

Derrick: It is. 

Graham: Yeah, without a doubt. 

Fay: Your children are only as strong as your teachers are going to be. 

Mark: Of course, yeah. 

Derrick: And if the country provides the right culture that Fay is talking about, then innovation and creativity will start to occur through the teachers, through the education system. It’ll transform itself. It’ll actually innovate on top of itself. So an education system in some of the leading education systems in the world are so because, within their system, they have innovated. They have actually been an entrepreneur within the company or entrepreneur within their company, and they’ve actually changed in leaps and bounds because they’ve provided those right conditions for success, they’ve provided a culture of learning and they value learning in different ways than we’re used to in a lot of western countries. And I think that’s really important and schools are changing, education is changing around the world and some countries want to change, however, they have to get the culture right. And we’re starting to see agile learning start to occur, where the countries are looking at, “How do we actually instill an agile mindset?” It’s a little bit like the entrepreneur innovative mindset, “How do we instill that agile mindset with leading educators in systems across the world? How do we instill agile learning environments? Why are we so used to the industrialized model of a classroom?”

Graham: Yeah. That’s true. 

Derrick: And how do we then leverage agile technologies? Those three agilities will help transform education and contemporary learning. 

Graham: And on that note, I think we should chat about Mark’s comments last night about VR. And when we asked the question about where it’s gonna be, where he sees classrooms in 10 years time and he was like if he had to put money on it, it would be that it’s VR and you may not even need to go to class. What are yours? Do you have a different opinion? Or… 

Mark: That might not even be just education, it could be life. 

Derrick: It could be life, yeah. 

Fay: Yes. Absolutely. Absolutely. 

Derrick: Yeah, yeah. I was just this morning talking about someone who’s building a factory and they’re using virtual reality to actually go through, walk through the factory and actually pull apart some of the machines in the factory, all in a safe way, but in a way that enables them to improve the actual design. It’s quite incredible. 

Mark: That’s what the van is gonna be in the future. The VR Startup Van. 

Derrick: The VR Startup Van. 

Fay: There are lots of things that are gonna challenge schools into the future and it’s all going to be culturally based I imagine and economically driven. All sorts of reasons are going to effect schooling in the future but just like school be… Child care has been affected right now. We have 24-hour child care. We have both parents working because they need to. Both parents wanting the very best for their children so they’re choosing particular child care centres. The concept of care has changed dramatically. We’re offering more to the children in extension activities, sporting programs, music programs, etcetera, etcetera, because you need to. Times are changing, times are changing. 

Mark: You don’t wanna get left behind. 

Fay: No. Not at all. 

Derrick: No. That’s right. 

Graham: Yeah, definitely. 

Fay: But we’re excited, Xplor’s great and we’re excited about Xplor, passionate about… 

Graham: Leading the chart. [chuckle] 

Fay: Passionate about what we’re doing and… 

Mark: It certainly comes across that everyone on Xplor… 

Graham: Oh, 100%. 

Mark: Is passionate about what they do and it’s great. 

Derrick: And the theory that Fay and I work in when we’re supporting Xplor is supporting that facet of Xplor which allows the teacher and parents and whole learning community to document and view the dynamic learning journey of a young individual. Like a digital portfolio but a very dynamic digital portfolio. So the whole… All the stakeholders, the teachers, the parents, the grandparents, the students taking responsibility for their own learning, is able to see their learning documented and articulated in a variety of ways so they can respond to it and respond in a timely fashion. So just imagine if we had that when we were growing up, learning. 

Mark: I know, I was just thinking that yeah. 

Derrick: Imagine if our parents and our grandparents and the community saw how we were learning and what we were learning and were able to bring extra value to that every day because they were in contact. In a convenient way, technology allows us to be… Have access to that information in a convenient and timely fashion. It’s quite wonderful. 

Graham: Yeah, I’d certainly love to be able to look back and see what I was like when I was a three year old. 

Mark: A little terror. 

Graham: Yeah. 

Mark: Guys, it’s been great having you in the van. 

Graham: Guys, I could sit in here and talk to you literally all day long. Thank you so much. 

Derrick: It has been great talking to you. 

Graham: Yeah, thanks guys. And great what you’re going. 

Derrick: Thank you for coming from the other side of the world. 

Mark: Thanks for having us. 

Derrick: No problem. 

Graham: Thanks guys. 

Mark: Thanks so much guys

Early Learning Educators Talk to Start Up Van
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Early Learning Educators Talk to Start Up Van
Faye Woodland shares her experience and predictions on the future of education in early learning. Listen to the insightful video about this educators experiences.
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