Education as child/centred, individualised. Education as standardised, mass produced The processing of oranges
Each child is different, thus children’s learning pathways differ.

Education is differentiated, starting from each child. Learning journeys are many and varied.

Education is a standardised product. Education starts from a standardised program. All students proceed along one linear path. Oranges from different orange groves, pass along the one conveyor belt. All traverse the same path.
Education as enquiry; children ask questions and solve problems of relevance to them and their lives. Education as standardised knowledge, to be given to all students, via the same teaching programs. Orange processing as a standardised  process, with different oranges experiencing the one process.
Teachers plan for each child to learn and experience success. Evaluation is ongoing and varied. Standardised tests used to measure ‘learning’ of the standardised curriculum. Tests used to sift and sort. Those children not passing the standard are classed as failures.


Conveyor belt process workers eliminate non-standard oranges. Along the conveyor belt small ones slip off, spotted ones, pale ones are tossed into waste buckets.
Schools value diversity; children of different cultures, classes and religions have much to learn from each other. Schools do not

want less able students or  ESL students, as they sully school test results which are published on ‘MySchool’website, a government initiative meant to guarantee a satisfactory standardised product.

 It is easier for the process workers, (and cheaper for the plant operators) if the incoming oranges are the same species.
Each child is valued.


Only some children meet the standard and are valued.


This indigenous child has different view of 1778 – Fail!


This child is hungry and can’t concentrate – Fail!

Only some oranges pass the standard.


This orange is bigger than others – discard!


This orange has different skin colour- discard!


This orange is local variety-discard!


Local educators and local knowledge are valued. Local educators are ignored. Discredited overseas officials are the new education gurus in Australia. Overseas oranges are imported from large multi national companies.

Local varieties are not valued and  are ploughed into the ground.

Curricula and

classrooms, vary from region to region.

One national curriculum is developed for all children across the nation. Teachers and children conform. All oranges in all supermarkets look the same.
Education is child and community centred and is relevant, purposeful and ongoing for life. Mass produced education is artificial, joyless, without purpose, and is of little relevance to many students, Mass produced oranges are artificial, tasteless, non-organic, and less nutritional.
Teachers work as professionals, encouraged to plan professional development around their needs, and trusted to develop learning programs best suited to the needs of their particular students. Teachers are deskilled, and have little discretion over what and how to teach. They are process workers, implementing programs developed by others, far removed from the actual students. Smaller growers have no voice. Their local grown products are not valued. They are powerless and cannot compete against powerful international growers.
Co-operation is valued over competition. Teachers work collegiately and gain job satisfaction through developing curriculum suited to their students.  They experience joy as they observe their students overcome difficulties and experience success. ‘Successful’ teachers are offered financial rewards. Thus teaching becomes competitive; teachers no longer share ideas.

Teachers of failing students are threatened and lose their jobs. ‘Failing schools’ are closed.

Successful growers are those who conform and grow what the large multinational supermarkets order. With their profits they plant more trees. Smaller growers cannot compete. They fail and go out of business.
Education is to develop active, informed citizens willing and able to work for, and to contribute to, their communities Education is to develop conforming, obedient workers, and to keep the masses unemployed and ignorant. Tasteless, non-nutritional curriculum squeezes the last drop of creative juice out of the children. Orange processing is designed to ensure a standardised, tasteless, non-nutritional  product, which is mass produced by  large multi national  growers, and keeps  local growers out of the market, thus keeping them poor and downtrodden.



Leland,C & Kasten,W. Literacy Education for the 21st Century: It’s Time to Close the Factory, in, IReading and Writing Quarterly,18:5-15, 2002. © Taylor & Francis