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Fragments II: micro stories about the learning business

8 Reasons Why We Might Not Want To Reimagine School

It appears that we are all reimagining school these days and I'm wondering why.

Why is the #futureschool bandwagon so dominating our Twitter feed and every educational conference schedule on the planet?

One explanation might be that we spent so long proudly purporting to be delivering 21st Century Learning, that we are now realising that it was a cover; and that, all along, we really had no idea what kind of learning our students needed or deserved.

Another explanation takes us back to the writings of Michael Polanyi and his idea that radical change is not gradual but occurs only when there is a build-up of anomalies in the existing system. There are always things that don't quite sit well with us, Polanyi explained. But when there are sufficient numbers of these anomalies, a paradigmatic shift can transform our entire view of how things are.

So, just maybe, the phenomenon that we are seeing here is nothing more than a growing recognition of the deep anomalies in our current educational world view; which of course gives us hope that we are on the edge of transformative change.

A photograph of post it notes on a wall
Post your own reasons why we might not want to reimagine school.

Before we all rush headlong into the revolution, however, I found myself stopping this weekend to reflect during Learning by Design 2019 on what we are all signing up for; which turned into 8 Post-It reminders to myself on why I might not want to jump on the bandwagon after all.

  1. Radical honesty with ourselves and our colleagues is never easy. There's no workaround to this one.

  2. We won't agree. When it comes to something as important as the future of our school, we shouldn't always agree.

  3. Enrolment might go down. We might actually have to stop being all things to all people.

  4. Students might not go to university after high school. They might be better off - happier, more successful - not going.

  5. We will inevitably lose control. (Note: This is not the same as losing the plot).

  6. We will have to fail. Regularly and often. If we haven't failed, we haven't tried anything. Isn't that what we teach our kids?

  7. Cost. Simply, there will be one.

  8. We will never be done. Not after the next Tweet. Not after the next event. There is no "return to normal".

If anyone is looking for a reason not to reimagine school, I'd encourage you to help yourself.

The more I look at these Post-It reminders, however, the more I see 8 reasons to keep on going, even after the conference is over.

This, I believe, is the deeper meaning of Advancement. Finding reasons to keep on moving forward, whatever the cost.



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