Learning to make a difference: Creativity, Community & Character

Last week I attended the #SSATNC14 in Manchester, here is my 1st reflection about the keynote from Charles Leadbeater @leadbeaterch.

Charles started off by setting the scene of the current context and the future challenges for education, to be honest after the high octane start from the SSAT playing loud ‘school disco’ music as we entered the room followed by a fantastic student street dancing group playing all my old favourites I was feeling on a high but then hit the ground with a thump.

Charles said when talking about education ‘The future holds extremely tight constraints for us, the learners we are and will be working with will have more and more economic pressure on them. If you add to this a surge of rising aspirations, what this gives you is a recipe for deep frustration on institutions.’

Is this true? To be honest I don’t think I disagree with this, do you?

So how do we address this? Charles discussed that the potential answer is what we have in abundance which is the potential for collaboration and technology.

This is good to hear because I believe this is what successful schools are already doing or beginning to do, these schools are being incredibly brave that despite a unstable and rapidly changing educational landscape and despite the ‘system’ some are trying to collaborate more and trying to engage with technology in creative and ‘risky’ ways.

I agree with what Charles said (although I may add some others) that for an institution to be successful at the moment and in the future they need to be:

  1. Open
  2. Adaptive
  3. Innovative
  4. Purposeful

However how many schools out there can do this? I would say that most schools are ‘adaptive’ they have to be especially with so many changes happening at every level and I don’t think I ever visited or worked in a school that hasn’t been purposeful so these surely are a given. However how many schools these days despite greater autonomy and apparently ‘less bureaucracy’ are more open? Are schools collaborating more than ever before or has it become more competitive? Finally how many schools out there feel that they can afford to be innovative?

I know from my experience of what we are doing and the blogs and articles I read that there are brilliant examples out there but please leave a comment to share if you think you are more open and innovative or if you simply feel you can’t be.

Finally Charles left us with what I can only describe as almost a manifesto and to be honest I don’t think I disagree with any of it, I wonder if any of the political parties would be interested in using it for the next general election?

The measures of success for young people when they leave school should be:

Knowing: how to search, test, reassemble and reapply

Questioning: how to prose and question

Communicating: how to present, show and persuade people

Collaborating & making how to create tangible products with others and to bring into the real world

Persisting: how to stick at it, overcome obstacles & a sense of well-deserved achievement

After what was a low start to the keynote (nothing to do with his performance) but I guess the realisation of just how things are, as it progressed I came away feeling optimistic and also reassured about how we approach things at DHSB. We are tackling these tough times with creativity, community and character.

What do you think?



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