Bluyonder Greg Whitby

Updated: 4 hours 28 min ago

Dare we disturb the universe?

18 June, 2018 - 14:31

If you’ve been following the musings on bluyonder, you’ll know I’m no fan of the traditional model of schooling. The reason is pretty simple – the structure as it stands drives the learning. Those who have worked in schools will know the timetable controls everything – who learns what, when and with whom. Often in schools, the person who wields the most power is the one who is in charge of timetabling. Get that wrong and the system ends up coming to a grinding halt.

I’m often puzzled as to why we continue to prop up a system that constricts teacher autonomy and limits student choice. I recently heard of two examples that illustrate this point. The first was a Year 9 student who had to put in an expression of interest to take photography as an elective. The school would only deliver the subject if there were a minimum number of students. Needless to say, there was no photography this year. Similarly, at another high school, almost 40 students put their hand up to take a software development class. The school wouldn’t run two classes so they selected 30 students based on grades alone. So much for cultivating interests and passions!

It reminds me of the line from T.S Eliot’s Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock, do we ‘dare disturb the universe?’ As educators in today’s world, we are obligated to disturb the universe. If not, then our learners will never have the opportunities to discover new ones. It is difficult to fathom, in an age of connected technologies, that we are still afraid to step outside the square in pursuit of learning. All of this at a time when we want students to be risk-takers and creative thinkers.

As I’ve said so many times, this is a fundamental challenge to the teaching profession itself. A new age requires a new mindset and a new approach that inspires us to think outside the square.



Categories: Planet

The educational blogosphere

9 June, 2018 - 10:03

This blog is more than a decade old and some 500 posts later it is easy to ask what’s the point of blogging? Prolific blogger Seth Godin explains it this way:

Other than writing a daily blog (a practice that’s free, and priceless), reading more blogs is one of the best ways to become smarter, more effective and more engaged in what’s going on. The last great online bargain.

Good blogs aren’t focused on the vapid race for clicks that other forms of social media encourage. Instead, they patiently inform and challenge, using your time with respect.

For me, blogging has been an important avenue for shaping ideas, clarifying thinking and hearing from those with a vested interest in education. The fact that people take the time to read and comment reinforces two things for me. The first is that we are part of a connected community. The second is that learning is a collaborative process. I couldn’t begin to list the number of educational blogs written by teachers, leaders, students and even parents. Each person gives us a different perspective and makes a unique contribution to the broader discussion, which as we know, is global now.

What impresses me most about the blogosphere is just how generous people are with their time and ideas. Their intent is never about personal gain but how small contributions can lead to transformational change. We can all make a difference somewhere through our circle of influence (see Stephen Covey).

I feel privileged to be part of the educational blogging community. Thank you to all of those who continue to push the boundaries for today’s learners and importantly, choose to challenge and educate the rest of us.


Categories: Planet
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