You say you want a revolution?

There is much discussion about bringing about a significant shift in education. As we move further from the socialist/institutional model to the capitalist/market model, there is increasing concern about the negative impact this will have on progressive education (which is generally seen as more humanistic and less amenable to standardised testing and so on). The good news however, is that in a market-based model, 'consumers' are more free to choose the education they want for their children – something that initiatives like MySchool demonstrate.

Given this, advocates of progressive pedagogies may take the opportunity to create more options for students. There are in fact already a number of surprisingly progressive options available. But how many people are aware of Reggio Emilia approaches? How many understand the pros and cons of Montessori? How many people know about amazingly progressive environments like the MLC school?

In a market economy, consumers and providers exist in a balance of supply and demand. Progressive educators are striving to invent better pedagogies, and to provide spaces where these pedagogies can be deployed. In market terms, they are focusing on the supply side. Which is a bit like Apple making more and more iPods in the hope that people would wander into stores and buy them.

If we really want progressive pedagogies to catch on, if we really want a paradigm shift, perhaps it's time we looked at the demand side of the equation.

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