I believe that, had I conspired with Peter Senge to produce a pair of presentations for ACEL 2007 that doveteiled so effectively, we would not have generated the meeting of minds that we did.
Peter spoke by VC from MIT (I think) immediately preceding my talk, and proceeded to work his way through most of the key issues that I had decided to raise in mine: the necessary shift away from ‘smokestack schooling’, the pre-eminence of learning over teaching, the need to free learners to learn as they do naturally, the desire to bring passion into education, the criticality of education to deep personal and social development in ways that can only be fully understood by the learner himself or herself.
Indeed, both of us also picked up on many of the themes that came out, so engagingly, from the previous day’s talk by Heidi Hayes Jacobs.
The openness with which the, fairly tough, messages coming out of these three talks seem to have been accepted by so many of the attendees at ACEL 2007 convinces me all the more that teachers across the world are becoming increasingly frustrated at the reductive and compassionless nonsense that so many education jurisdictions are forced to peddle as accepted practice in education. That conservative nexus I wrote about yesterday has a lot to answer for.
The best teachers know instinctively that the social and political (and media-enforced) chains that bind schools and education today need to be broken so that we can begin to free our young people and start to build a kind of education that meets their real needs.
It is time to tell our political and media leaders to get out of the way and let the new educational reality get on with it!