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A pedagogy for the 21st century

Every week, 'The TES' asks a celebrity to describe their best teacher. None of them, as far as I have noticed, has ever said, "Ms Smith was brilliant because she delivered the national curriculum." Teachers who inspire bring something special to the classroom - themselves. Good teaching is personal.

Personalised learning, of course, is one of New Labour's pre-election themes, but their pronouncements reveal only the blurriest of pictures. They are pulled between broad ideals - high expectations, learning shaped to every child, fulfilling potential (one of the most overused phrases in education) - and a wish to control personalised learning through such devices as the pupil tracker, a bit of technology that enables teachers to compare a child's progress with others deemed to be similar.

This supplement, the second in our series asking What is education for, examines how the concept of personalised learning can "fulfil its potential". It looks at how to create curricula and pedagogies for the 21st century, and at how brain research will help us do it.

To get a feel for the future, catch up with our imaginary family of 2025, and then turn to page 15 to find out how to keep aging brains supple.

I'd like to hear your views. Please let me know what you believe education is for, or any other thoughts on the future of learning.

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