Friday, 20 April 2007

Education: The Ultimate Control I have just watched the youtube - Do schools kill creativity? - boy did it strike a cord. Creativity, Education, Future - Education: The Ultimate Control I have listed below a number of statements that I have found to be of interest and worth contemplation and I am hoping may prompt a little debate, as I am sure not all will agree with the premise, that 'Schools kill Creativity', or more to the point, 'Education and Educators are killing creativity'. The comments below come from my mind alone at this time - right or wrong! In my mind, the premise of this presentation is correct, in that I see Education as killing creativity. As a lecturer in TAFE/VTE/VET, in Australia, you are still confined to teaching a curriculum - interesting, what happened to the training packages that would allow variety and industry based needs would be fulfilled? Is it not our role in this sector/system to provide our learners with the best learning possible and equip them the best we can, on their journey in our charge? Have we not yet realised the potential of our learners, I would say, Yes. On the whole from my experience in the Secondary and VTE sector in the Business Arena, Marketing, Advertising, International Business, the training packages have provided nothing more than a vast choice of 'competencies' that are bundled by Institutes in a fashion that suits the administration. Educators often have little or no say in the bundling. I can remember only one meeting when training packages were introduced and then it was to basically teach us, the language and how to cut and paste, the elements and competencies, etc into our own Semester Schedules, that were required for AQTF auditing purposed and they had to have the correct headers/footers?????????? The training packages provide for many types of assessment, provide flexibility, choice, however how many of your colleagues are using any form of assessment outside of, tests, exams, reports, research, essays, powerpoint presentations???? I would suggest not many. Why? Administrative convenience, you are less likely to have a learner complain about a result if you have a test or exam mark that reflects the learners ability?????? What the................. Can anyone tell me exactly how a test, in the most asking you to regurgitate something read or something said, reflects anything other than a good memory and the ability to regurgitate succinctly through the use of literacy skills. Imagine a room of fluffy birman cats sitting in your room regurgitating food and fur balls, all they have eaten and washed off their coats, and there in my eyes you have a group of learners sitting an exam. A short sighted, narrow minded thought, maybe but it is my thought and a belief I stand by. Have you tried to teach differently to the accepted and expected model - 'teacher knows all and will impart all to the learner model, you now, stand up the front and with the power of osmosis at your magical finger tips, all you say will flow through the air and implant itself in each learners memory? I have and whilst, I have had the blessing of the learners I have endured the wrath of staff, who believe that I am doing the learners a disservice, by not complying and not forcing myself to follow the old ways, I am a 'trouble maker' and less of a teacher and person, so it would seem as one is treated somewhat differently. There is no need to even mention e-learning, just mention 'practice firm' and you will have people complaining all around the place, about how lazy you are, that you just set everything up, provide a guide and act as a mentor and do no teaching, you are a bludger worthy of hauling before management for your poor attitude towards your teaching. Hello, out there, has anyone consulted the learners? Has anyone talked to those who went through the practice firm? Of course not! Sorry folks, but surely my role as an educator is to provide a base for the learner, an understanding of the direction in which each unit, each course can and may take them, allow them to venture on a new exploration, one where making mistakes, identifying them, collaborating, engaging with others to find solutions. Am I not there to allow them to question, not just my ideas and concepts but those of many in the world. Should I not provide a context, a home for their learning, a safe one, where each idea, each journey, each individual and their learning and contributions are valued at all times. An environment that provides skills far and beyond those academic, skills that will allow learners to continue their learning, in order that they may survive if not flourish, in a future they will see and we will not. If humanly possible should I not seek an environment for the learners, that may simulate a potential workplace or at the very least an environment fostered whereby business protocols, ways of operating, are learned as an added bonus to anything academic. To operate in the above manner, will undoubtedly cause heartache but to give up on such ideals and ideals they well maybe to some, for me a reality and one worth fighting for on behalf of the learners. You may even experience sabotage, as I did. In taking a leave of absence, I returned to find that within 6 months, those staff who replaced me in the Practice Firm, had decided that the students did not learn anything, that it was in fact not conducive to learning because it was to hard to teach?????? What the....... interesting 'to hard to teach' and we completely erode, years of set up and work, fantastic outcomes - learners had learned from experience, learned by doing - Slam and the program was gone. From being the first Practice Firm to utilize the program in marketing, of which many followed suit and continue to grow today, we became the first casualty. We can apply this experience to any situation where there exists differences in thinking relating to teacher vs learner, and I still hear to much about the teacher, and not enough about the learner, at the coal face. Many educators do not wish to lose control and they feel they are, if they give an inch of independence, of creative licence to the learner. Why, why is such control needed? Can any of us as educators profess to know all? I for one can not.I learn many new things everyday and mostly from the learners and my children who peek my curiosity, so I google, I talk to others, I find out more, not because I have to, because I enjoy doing so and choose to do so - what is the other option, I am forced into watching reality tv which is as far away from any reality there could ever be (sorry do not get how locking people up in a house for months and playing mind games, manipulating the people and their environment, can be seen as anything other than some weird alien experiment). With that as the alternative, I know what I wish my reality to be. Surely fostering creativity, allowing exploration, saying it's okay to make mistakes, providing learners with a choice of pathways for their journey, not as a fixed direction, but a map, that allows one to veer off and explore other areas of interest. The creation of an environment or community of sharing, collaboration, a view of the world that exists today and acknowledgment that we can not even know how the world will be next year thus we provide the opportunity to learn new skills, find new solutions, each individual and owned by the individual for continued learning, so that they may flourish in all that they do, present and future. To me, it is only in such ways, that education will become anymore than, a long continuum to university entrance. We will continue to crush learners with archaic methodology, because educators are scared, they fear losing control, they can not and still many refuse to even contemplate the notion. Until TAFE/VTE stops operating as a conduit to university (of course that is where they make their money with the international students, with bridging courses etc),educators that work right along side us, will still profess to be the 'sage on the stage'. Until TAFE/VTE recognize that professional development in new pedagogy is important and relevant, rather than professional development on ' how to project your voice in lectures', uh huh, a PD offering in 2007 and a distinct absence of anything related to technology, education, pedagogy, learners and learning, our learners have no chance. I for one am scared, not of losing control, 28 years as an educator and I have never been in control, the learners have always been the drivers, or that is what I believed as it was them who learned, their experience. I am scared for the children of today and tomorrow, My own children will be of VTE age in the next couple of years and what do they face, four walls, an overhead projector or data show if fortunate enough, lectured at, told what to do, regurgitating the same information as hundreds, maybe thousands before them and having every ounce of creativity and I would suggest a great deal of their already formed web identities, their identity is locked away for at least eight hours, five days a week. And we call this Education! Education is not only killing creativity. Education is killing creativity, identity, individuality and independence! Comments from the Presentation "We all have a deep affinity with education" "Children today will retire in 2065 - we can not prepare them for the future" "Capacity for innovation in our children" "Extraordinary talents - all children have talents" "Creativity is as important as literacy and we should treat it with the same status" "Kids will take a chance, if they don't know they will give it a go". "If you are not prepared to be wrong you will never come up with anything original". "Educating people out of their creative capacities" We don't grow into creativity, we grow out of it, we are educated out of it" Countries around the world have the same hierarchical structure
  • Maths Languages
  • Humanities
  • Arts
  • Art Music
  • Dram Dance
"Not a school on the planet that teaches dance as we teach maths". "Start to educate progressively, from the waist up, more and more concentrating on the head and leaning to one side" "Output of education - Purpose to produce university professors" "Professors live in their heads, body a form of transport for their heads" "Most useful subjects at the top - steering away with benine advice from things liked" Education - protracted university entrance "Can not continue to operate in this manner" "Degrees not worth anything now, you need masters, phd - academic inflation" Radical change to the way we view intelligence
  • Diverse
  • Dynamic
  • Distinct
"Ballet- people who need to move to think"! "Human Ecology, we need to see and explore the richness of human capacity". "Education has stripped our minds, like a miner, stripping our earth of precious resources. We need to rethink the way we educate our children". "We need to focus on the gift of the human imagination, use it wisely, seeing creative capacities for what they are and our children for the future they are, a future we may not see, but they will".

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