Education for the 21st century

Our vision for education at the Relational Schools Project seeks to re-focus the goals of schooling from personal development to social contribution. The aim is to build ‘relational capital’ in the lives of families and communities through the right organisational structures and goals. In practice, this involves engaging the whole community in the educational process through collaborative partnerships. As the whole community invests in education, the whole community benefits.

Various thinkers have called for the creation of ‘third spaces’, which are physical locations where people meet to engage in social and cultural activities. A ‘fifth-space’ approach takes this idea further. It promotes a vision of education where many of the third space structures which foster encounter relationships, and the workplaces and workspaces which promote economic growth and development, are united with the physical environment of the school itself.

… the city as one big school – an education city is a social educational network, a tangible network focused on the realisation and development of both the individual and the city. (Yaaccov Hecht)

Restoration of ethos

Put simply, fifth-space thinking is about building relationships and involving the community in the educational process. It seeks to combine the innovations and advances of the 21st century with the sense of public responsibility and engagement that has historically characterised the education system. It calls for a re-discovery of public collaboration in education that will provide greater educational opportunities and that will draw communities and families together.

To read more about fifth-space thinking and our vision for an education city, you can download our paper on the subject from our Resources page.

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