Is it Time to Move Past Reimagination in Education: What’s Next?

August 19, 2023 / 3 min. read

Reimagination. I’ve spoken about it much over the past few weeks at length.

There was indeed a need for the reimagination movement before and amidst the COVID Pandemic and even beyond as we emerged from the lockdowns and shutdowns, filled with optimism that things could—and should—be different.

The word itself has been heralded, celebrated, and, regrettably, overused in the current world of education. I’m increasingly concerned that this term is becoming a hollow gesture, almost a smokescreen for merely maintaining the status quo while sounding cutting-edge.

The Fallacy of Reimagination

The call to “reimagine education” has been parroted for some time now, but from the schools that have this on the marketing brochures, are there truly tangible results – is so what are they? The term is repeatedly quoted enthusiastically from conference stages to policy documents, yet it often lacks substance. For example many schools have packaged technology within this reinagination yet fallen short (according to the OECD only 53% of educators felt well or very well prepared to use digital technologies in their teaching practices); in addition the jury is out on if we could be on the verge of failing to utilise the massive artificial intelligence advancements (the start of this academic year will be a litmus test for this). Yes, we can all imagine “a schooling system that not only imparts textbook wisdom but also nurtures real-world learning,” but is that it? What do we do with the textbooks? For example will we create a “forest school” or an experiential learning localized module?

While the promises are splendid, I fear we might grow increasingly underwhelmed with the delivery, and from the research and conversations I have had with THINK Learning Studio, this frustration is manifesting among parents, educators, and students. One group, some of whom had recently withdrawn their children from a school that promised “voice and choice,” left utterly frustrated at their child’s rote learning and constant testing.

Moving Beyond Buzzwords to Action

Is there a need for reimagination to evolve into something more, a rebuilding, redesigning, and a move to more relentless action? Is it time to test new models, fail, learn, and grow? The emphasis must shift from empty words to meaningful changes that resonate with the needs and aspirations of learners.

Sure, we can live in a forever utopia of empty promises. However, we must “do,” and the subsequent ‘failures’ are a crucial phenomenon that helps define the boundary between the realistic and unrealistic. In the words of President Obama we need to, “learn how to get things done”.



In our pursuit, we can embrace other methods such as project, portfolio, and challenge-based learning components. We must also collectively recognize that the doing of innovation will be king and that placing learners at the heart of the experience is not a mere slogan but a commitment – we must help keep each other accountable on such promises.

Conclusion: Commitment to Real Change

I hope as a group of people passionate about education, I hope we can find common ground towards empty promises, and the era of real change must begin. Young people understand the value of real-world connections, of working together; they want to collaborate on how to change the world — not endlessly reimagining “what if.”

We all deserve more than buzzwords. Our system deserves a sincere dedication to transformation and action — those stories and journeys shared with our communities for collective reflection and growth.


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