Postformal Education: A Philosophy for Complex Futures
Author: Jennifer M Gidley
Paperback. 291 pages. 2017
About the Book
This book explains why the current education model, which was developed in the 19th century to meet the needs of industrial expansion, is obsolete. It points to the need for a new approach to education designed to prepare young people for global uncertainty, accelerating change and unprecedented complexity.The book offers a new educational philosophy to awaken the creative, big-picture and long-term thinking that will help equip students to face tomorrow’s challenges. Inside, readers will find a dialogue between adult developmental psychology research on higher stages of reasoning and today’s most evolved education research and practice. This dialogue reveals surprising links between play and wisdom, imagination and ecology, holism and love. The overwhelming issues of global climate crisis, growing economic disparity and the youth mental health epidemic reveal how dramatically the current education model has failed students and educators. This book raises a planet-wide call to deeply question how we actually think and how we must educate. It articulates a postformal education philosophy as a foundation for educational futures.The book will appeal to educators, educational philosophers, pre-service teacher educators, educational and developmental psychologists and educational researchers, including postgraduates with an interest in transformational educational theories designed for the complexity of the 21st century.
"This is the most compelling book on education I have read for many years. It has major implications for all who are in a position to influence developments in teacher education and educational policy. Gidley is one of the very rare scholars who can write intelligently and accessibly about the past, present and future in education. I was challenged and ultimately convinced by her contention that ‘what masquerades as education today must be seen for what it is – an anachronistic relic of the industrial past’. Gidley’s challenge is to ‘co-evolve’ a radically new education. All who seek to play a part must read this book."
- Brian J. Caldwell, PhD. Educational Transformations, former Dean of Education at the University of Melbourne and Deputy Chair, Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)
“This is the book we have all been waiting for and should be read by educators, policy makers and everyone interested in the future through the transformative power of education in creating a wiser, more caring world with a vibrant future. This path-breaking book synthesizes the new thinking of philosophers in diverse areas of knowledge of the 20th century into a new model of integral education for a 21st century Integrative Age. There are many books on what is wrong with education but few on how to make fundamental systemic change.”
- David K. Scott, PhD. Former Chancellor, University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Leading thinker on integrating science and spirituality, co-editor: “Integrative Learning and Action: A Call to Wholeness” (2006) Peter Lang Publishers.
“Jennifer Gidley is one of the most provocative and important thinkers in education today. Her vision draws on the epic story of the evolution of consciousness as she presents us with the past, present and possible future of education. Interweaving ancient wisdom and the latest research, Gidley articulates an inspiring new and radical revisioning of the nature, mission, and role of education.”
- Alfonso Montuori, PhD. Professor Transformative Studies Department, School of Consciousness and Transformation, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco. Editor: “Journeys in Complexity” (2014) Routledge)
“An extraordinary triumph of scholarship that builds a bridge from the past to the future. It envisions futures of wisdom and gifts readers with everyday applicable concepts, empowering them to articulate a new world and language it into being.”
- Earl de Blonville, FRGS. Founder, Postformal Leadership “One of the top six leadership thinkers in Australia” – BRW 2012
“This important book is a labour of love that brims with profound thought, wide ranging research, an overarching spiritual vision and commitment to an educational renaissance that is desperately needed around our troubled world. By linking the evolution of consciousness, aesthetic values, child-development, the art of teaching, post-formal thinking, contemplative insights and social commitment it is a resource of great value. For today’s educational activists, who are concerned about the narrowness and over-competiveness that passes as educational policy in so many countries, it provides a solid and inspiring foundation for us to continue working in order to create an education that our children really need and deserve.”
- Christopher Clouder, FRSA, co-editor: “The Future of Childhood” (2000) Hawthorn Press. CEO - European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education (1991 – 2011). Pedagogical Director: Il Liceo dei Colli, Florence, Italy)
“It is with great enthusiasm that I read Jennifer Gidley’s masterful work that develops thought about education to a new level! The old, almost mechanistic, view of education must make way for what Gidley calls “postformal education” if we are to shape a rich future for human development. I’m surprised it took only ten years to write this amazing book, one that could turn thinking about education around. I could not ask for a better application of postformal theory!”
- Jan D. Sinnott, PhD. Professor of Psychology, Towson University, Maryland, USA. Author of “The Development of Logic in Adulthood: Postformal Thought and Its Applications” (1998) Springer.
“This is a Very Important Book; the reader gets an early sense that this is one of those books that takes itself really seriously, throws a massive arc in terms of content and purpose, and is out to change the world. In short, Jennifer Gidley is on a mission and Postformal Education is her manifesto.”
- Giles Barrow, Pastoral Care in Education, February, 2019
“This offers the readers the possibility of a radical change in their thoughts about education, from solid theories that open new ways of thinking the education of children and young people in the face of a proposal of a postformal education. … Gidley's commitment to writing a work that is transformative stands out. … the book is recommended to all those interested in philosophy of education, developmental psychology and education professionals … .”
- Everton M. Batisteti, REMIE: Multidisciplinary Journal of Educational Research, Vol. 18 (1), February, 2018.
“It is tremendously exciting to connect with education in this “zone” and indeed moments of deep fascination and stimulating speculations have accompanied my reading of this book. … Altogether the ambition of this volume is enormous. … It is an important book for the rarity of its subject matter and ought to be paid attention.”
- Helen E. Lees, Other Education - The Journal of Educational Alternatives, Vol. 7 (1), 2018.
“Few books offer such a broad scope of transdisciplinary scholarship, nor attempt to defend an education which takes aim at ‘planet-sized’ problems. Postformal Education: A Philosophy for Complex Futures is such a book. … this text represents a timely wake up call for universities and university scholars to consider what these orthodox institutions could learn from risking engagement with the peripheries.”
- Daniella J. Forster, Policy Futures in Education, June, 2017
“This book synthesizes an extraordinary wealth of research and educational philosophy. … we have rigorous research from philosophers, scientists, psychologists, educators, sociologists, all drawn together in this far reaching book. … Everyone interested in a better future should read this book.”
- David K. Scott, Research Bulletin, Vol. 22 (1), 2017
“Jennifer Gidley has produced a work that repays studying. … It is a book to stir up our thinking and the education system.”
- Phil Hadridge, Foresight, Vol. 19 (1), 2017.
“I believe it may be most appropriate for researchers, academics and post-graduate students in education, consciousness and cultural studies. Accordingly, Gidley’s new book is a welcome addition to existing educational literature that is focused on forward thinking, sustainability and innovation … .”
- Marian de Souza, International Journal of Children's Spirituality, Vol. 22 (2), April, 2017.
“The book will appeal to educational philosophers and researchers, educators and teachers, developmental and educational psychologists, educational administrators, and anyone else with interest in transformative educational theories designed for the 21st century. … [Gidley] joins the chorus of voices calling for a planet-wide call to action to transform education and makes a distinct, inspiring, and significant contribution.”
- Gabrielle Donnelly, Journal of Transformative Education, Vol. 15 (4), 2017.
“Material that Jennifer Gidley has marshalled and organised into this book is positively breathtaking. If you are looking for a book which gives as thorough a survey of the global educational landscape as could be wished for, you need look no further. … if you are trying to work creatively in education and you want to know who your allies are in the fight against the ‘audit culture’ of modern factory-style education, then you need to read this book.”
- Norman Skillen, RoSE - Research on Steiner Education, Vol. 8 (1), 2017.