Postformal Education

A Philosophy for Complex Futures

  • Jennifer M. Gidley

Part of the Critical Studies of Education book series (CSOE, volume 3)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiv
  2. Jennifer M. Gidley
    Pages 1-13
  3. An Evolutionary Approach to Education

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 15-15
    2. Jennifer M. Gidley
      Pages 17-44
    3. Jennifer M. Gidley
      Pages 45-69
    4. Jennifer M. Gidley
      Pages 71-98
  4. Postformal Psychology and Education: A Dialogue

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 99-99
    2. Jennifer M. Gidley
      Pages 157-186
  5. An Evolving Postformal Education Philosophy

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 187-187
    2. Jennifer M. Gidley
      Pages 189-206
    3. Jennifer M. Gidley
      Pages 207-227
    4. Jennifer M. Gidley
      Pages 229-247
    5. Jennifer M. Gidley
      Pages 249-267
    6. Jennifer M. Gidley
      Pages 269-271
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 273-291

About this 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why the current education model, which was developed in the 19th century to meet the needs of industrial expansion, is obsolete.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)


postformal education postformal psychology evolution of consciousness postformal pedagogies evolutionary pedagogies critical pedagogy critical studies alternative education educational futures

Authors and affiliations

  • Jennifer M. Gidley
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Sustainable FuturesUniversity of Technology SydneyUltimoAustralia

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing AG 2016
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Education
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-29068-3
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-29069-0
  • Buy this book on publisher's site