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Overcoat Issue Six: Education editorial

Posted on July 14, 2013

Our editor, Jessie Webb, introduces the latest issue of Overcoat.

Education is a hot topic in Australia at present: it is an election year, the education system has been reformed into a national curriculum, and the names of various reforms and reviews — Gonski, Behrendt, and Bradley — ring in our ears. But in our daily lives, and for those of us whose engagement with formal education may be behind us, what significance does ‘education’ hold? How does it shape our lives? Education is close to Overcoat’s heart, so it is fitting that this issue follows on from our last theme of ‘love’.
What is education, and where does it come from? What is it to be taught, or to teach? As the collection of stories within these pages shows, education will mean something different to each of us depending on the place we occupy, the opportunities we are afforded, and the people who surround us.
Is it possible, these stories ask, that we learn as much from the processes of learning and teaching than we do from any chosen field of study? Beyond the acquisition of knowledge, they suggest, these processes can feed our creativity, and grow us in ways that give meaning to our lives. Can banality, for example, teach us the dimensions of our imagination? Can change or chance or defeat teach us, unexpectedly, the scope of our own possibility?
And who, or what, guides us in these educational journeys — is it a place, a mentor, a sense of responsibility, a community, or our culture? Is it the actions of a role-model, the belief of a teacher, or the love — and here we come back to our last theme — of a mother or father?
And beyond that: what have we yet to learn? What are the effects of our actions, our choices, and our lives on the planet — and on each other? What are the realities we are oblivious to? What is the impact we don’t yet know we make?
These are the questions our contributors turn over in this issue of Overcoat, told in a collection of sensitive and personal stories that come to us from across the country and around the world — educating us as they unfold.

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