My tweets point me once again to the work of John Taylor Gatto as I read a blog comment based on Sir Ken Robinson’s latest book ‘The Element’. The comment written on the ‘Deschooling the 21st Century’ blog reminded me to take a balanced view of things and to consider what a balanced view might look like with regard to institutional education and its alternatives. Now I was always a deschooler and some time ago (on my previous blog) I wrote a post ‘Come back Ivan, all is forgiven’ as a reference to Ivan Illich’s work on the subject.
But I must get to grips with reformulating for myself what the purpose of education is and in this regard have returned to listen again to David Warlick who posted about it earlier this year. Warlick had a first and then a subsequent answer to the question : “The purpose of education is to appropriately prepare our children for their future.” … but this proves not to be enough in a world where the future is more and more uncertain … so: The purpose of education is to make the world a better place!“
Does this help me? And how can it be translated into a worthwhile, exciting and creative curriculum for all of our young people? Warlick adds: In a conceptual age, however, it isn’t what you know that’s the same as everyone else that brings success to an endeavor. It’s what you know that’s different, how you think and solve problems that is different, your ability to bring a new set of knowledge and experience to the task that brings value.
I am aware of need to change but am getting frustrated with my own rhetoric and am wondering if is there a distinction between ‘function’ and ‘purpose’?
Where are the ‘doers’? … the teachers who are not being blown from side to side by governmental fads and aspirations. I know of some that were there all along, shouting quietly … their web sites and their blogs exude excitement for their craft and their children/students (follow the amazingly inspired Ollie Bray from Musselburgh Grammar School, East Lothian, Scotland or the child focused Allanah King from Wellington New Zealand as examples of the quality and commitment that is there). And I am confident that there are others who, on a day-to-day basis, have the future of the young people in their care at the heart of what they do.
We need a system in place which helps them to support and enhance the lives of their charges not one which has taken the eye of the personal ball ( while claiming not to have done so). Is it too big a task? Can it be mended while it is still working? What price the moments and the lives while procrastination occurs?
Comments and directions to think so that I remain balanced would be greatly appreciated.