The How of Change in Education
The two year time frame for change is significant to me – after this current school year, I will have two years left of “being a parent” in the system. My daughters have joked and asked me if my advocacy for changes in education and schools would come after they have graduated. I guess that is a statement about the pace of change in education in itself!
So….what is feasible, achievable, and desirable for change in the next two years…? I think a number of things may just happen. For example, as younger teachers enter the profession, the use of technology and social media will become more embedded in teaching, learning and school practices. I really hope “Early Learning” will be sorted out to authentically and realistically support the development of these youngsters starting their long school careers. I appreciated Stephen Hurley’s writing and wishes for it here
Many will say the education system is doing just fine….that their kids are doing just fine….that schools are doing just fine. But yet, how do we make sense of all the passionate individuals talking, advocating, volunteering, writing, blogging, tweeting, and speaking about and for changes in education? And this is not limited to educators – this is also students, parents, business and community members, and trustees. Are we wrong? Some of us wrong?
We worry about being stuck in our echo chambers in our social media networks; we worry about whose voices are heard and not heard; we worry about the slow pace of change and progress; and we worry about funding limitations. I think we may all wonder if we are participating and aligning with the appropriate groups and people and forums (online and offline) that will help us to be a part of the conversations and visions for change in education. Sometimes it seems that certain “titles” will be more influential in change, but that may only be a perception created by the system.
Sir Ken Robinson’s recent suggestion to individuals to be a part of change in their own classrooms and personal situations has raised some question about our most effective place and capacity to create change for students in the system. Stephen Hurley grappled well with this here As for myself, as someone who mostly wears the parent hat trying to affect change and create supportive networks of stakeholders, I can relate to this. Often when things become very frustrating and troubling, we are often advised, and in good intention I think, to just take care of our own kids….and get them through the system. I guess there are things that we can always do, and not do, in our immediate circumstances, but doesn’t it admit defeat just a little bit? Is this how we should all proceed (cope)? As a parent, it is easy to feel powerless in the game of education and change – but I think the partnerships and shared conversations are needed and necessary to create bold and sustainable networks to guide change in education – as it will change. I see social media helping a lot with this, as I previously blogged about here I also sense some frustration from many about how to move our concerns to solutions and change. I recently blogged about the same here
I am not sure I see the answer in just taking care of our immediate situation or context, whether a parent or educator. We need to keep advocating and talking about the conditions for learning that our children will need to become resourceful and find purposeful life pursuits and opportunities. I think the various conversations are growing, expanding and refining our ideas and increasing in momentum. Evidence may not always be visible. As we shift to more talking about and supporting the whole child and teaching the whole child within the context of our communities, things like standardized testing and competition amongst our schools will no longer fit. A lot can change in two years and I think it needs to be allowed to be done. If we value public education, it needs to be done. We will have to take some risks and support one another.
So, I guess that is the change I think is possible….that the conversations and partnerships between educators and stakeholder partners will create “teams of change agents” that will learn and link together and “fan out” to create stronger ripples of change, influence and support for kids and schools. These teams and networks will help strengthen other networks locally and across Canada. It may seem worse before it gets better, but that may be part of the process to progress, and perhaps to many changes in the ways we do education and schooling.
As I was writing this, Carl Anderson (@anderscj) tweeted this quote by Naisbitt, “Most change is not in what we do, but how we do it.” I think the how is key ahead. I think the how has already started.