Monday, October 19, 2009

Inspiring Education- reflections

Today was the first full day of sessions for Inspiring Education. We listened to provocative speakers talk about both the need for change and the resistance to change.

We also had time throughout the day to work at small tables, discussing the papers presented as a result of the province-wide community conversations.

I started tweeting, live, but soon ran into technical difficulties and couldn't access any internet for most of the day, which was frustrating to say the least!

My thoughts, in point form, highlighting what resonated with me:

Dr. Jennifer James- speaker
  • We are experiencing broad, rapid, unprecendented change. During periods of great change, people will experience a high level of free floating anxiety, which some will interpret as a moral void. ("World going to hell in a handbasket.")
  • We are becoming increasingly culturally assimilated- France and Germany have written joint history books. The ability to talk to people all over the world, via the internet, brings about a different understanding of events, "truths", history, economics, ideas in general.
  • Most people cannot imagine the change that is needed to prepare kids for the future.
  • Everything changes when technology changes- personality, belief systems, economic systems, who is a citizen (democracy). It changes who is in the room and who has a voice.
  • Cultural mythologies are difficult to change- our tapestry of beliefs need to unravel slightly before they can be rewoven.
  • We need leadership to create stories to transition the change, so people can "see where we are going." The people telling the story need to be BELIEVABLE and the story has to resonate with deeply held values.
  • We should be open to considering competency testing for teachers (esp. in technology), recongnizing master teachers, eliminating tenure for teachers.
  • Kids need to learn to be researchers, collaborators, systems analysts, with cultural intelligence, negotiation/mediation skills.
  • What does your school value? (Check the trophy case for clues!)
  • Can we move up Maslow's ladder from security to self knowledge, to self actualization to transformation?
  • There will be increased demands for justice, quality of life and meaning.
  • Multiple choice exams teach the student to suspend judgement. They don't teach them to think.
  • Other trends: Access to information, inclusivity, alternatives to violence. We must learn to be kind and how to channel our fear when we perceive a threat.

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