Last week, the guru of the modern movement to change education globally to fit the new realities of the Internet and digital world, Sir Ken Robinson, spoke for the third time at a Ted conference. Again he was inspiring, in his delivery and content. He spoke what appears, to the vast majority of educators’ perfect sense. Yet we know his logical, sensible and realistic words will go ‘Smack’ against the political wall were policy will be decided.
In these difficult times, politicians have become more entrenched, more sure that the old ways are the best ways, and less trusting of pedagogic experts, or even the teachers the very people who are trained and experienced to implement good education. The testing regime seems to be purely directed at weeding out an army of ‘Bad’ teachers, when it is the generals who are too blame for poor results.
A colleague, who is a head of department in a large district educational authority, recently told me that he tried to present a plan to his political masters, to change education in his district. He had detailed out a complete system and methodology for change. After a week of frustration he spoke to me. He was appalled at not only the lack of understanding of basic education that he was trying to present, but worse, the politicians did not have a single idea to contribute to the debate. A lost cause.
There are multiple reasons, and in a previous guest blog, I spoke about the vacuum of a common educational theory, and also why there cannot be a single theory. We know that the quick answer is because children are not chemicals that react in an identical way every time the reaction is run. Children are individual biological and psychological entities and require individualistic programmes to succeed.
I am also not going to get into explanations of why we need to change education, you already know my maxim, ‘We should be educating children for their futures, not our pasts’.
What I want to talk about here is whether the thousands of committed educators across the world, who I know are fighting for their students, can or should be doing something about it, and if so what can they do?
Well for a start we can look more closely at immediately available resources that we can use. We can watch this excellent film how Finnish teachers are teaching and being trained . I offer my European projects that are loved by students as they are targeted at autonomous, creative learning, self-constructed learning, collaboration, peer-feedback.
I am not arguing that my projects are the start and finish, but they do offer ideas how we can build cross-curricular frameworks, but most importantly bring in to learning, for me, the most important missing element, children’s passion. The things they love. If we can get to the children through their passions, we won’t be educating, they will be playing and learning.
Tangible steps, I have made a new group on Facebook (sorry those that don’t like Facebook, but I know how to use it best), called ‘The Revolting Teacher’
I propose a few ideas for the group as a start point:
- How can we enrich our students education so that they stay motivated to learn
- How can we include future orientated teaching within the close confines of current educational curriculums?
- How can we advocate to change the scandalous failure of current education
- How can we learn and teach each other
Happy to hear your ideas as well, but in the group please, so we have an open discussion.
I do not believe, except for civil action, we can change what is happening today. The lunatics are in control of the asylum. What we can do is try to teach in ways that we know the students can relate too, to attempt to give our students the education they deserve, not the pedantic hearsay that bears no relation to their needs, for their futures. We just need to share our ideas and support each other.