The rhetoric of change

Back from a delightful harbour cruise, I find that I am distracted and disturbed by the overall discussions in the Global Summit.

I have been reading the posts by John Connell and am heartened by two things – namely the indepth reflection of the sessions and succinct summary that John is able to provide so quickly and in such a timely fashion as he goes about his business. On the other hand, I am aware that many of our ‘thought leaders’ and other leaders in education are attending, but focussing on ‘networking’ [playing politics?] without sharing any public reflection of what is happening or what they are thinking as a result of the sessions.

I find this disturbing and frustrating all in one.

I enjoyed George Seimens presentation, but found nothing new to what is already discussed with vigour in the blogosphere. Yet for many delegates his thoughts were challenging, new and exciting. What this tells me is that there should have been a bigger grass-roots representation at the Global Summit – that our educator leaders should have encouraged their practitioners to attend.

What this also tells me is that there are already two levels of global discourse: First, the discourse between the grassroots workers, the doers who are testing and challenging the pedagogy of learning, the ones who will really make the changes happen, and who can be found in the blogosphere in growing numbers. Second the discourse of ‘leaders’ who are in danger of’ talking about’ rather than doing. All the best turn of phrase will not equate to knowing how to create change and how to work with kids, because in not ‘doing’, in not discussing, and not sharing, the leaders are in danger of repeating the errors of their predecessors whom they now reflect upon harshly.

Doug Brown also presented well, but revealed nothing new overall.

It was Leigh Blackall who was young enough to express vehement loathing for education as it stands and as it seems to be still going despite all the best rhetoric. Sometimes it takes challenging statements to confront – though the politics of life will often mean that opinions expressed this way will be be counter-productive.

Doug Brown told us that

  • Learning is personal
  • Connected learners collaborate, create and innovate
  • Successful learners achieve

As learners I hope that the outcomes of this Summit will show that we have achieved something, and the potential possibilities created by this initiative are great. I have certainly heard many conference delegates declare that this is the best professional event that they have attended in a very long time.

I would agree, but I remain disheartened. I hope we actually look at what this change looks like ‘on the ground’ tomorrow.

Wouldn’t it have been nice to meet and talk with all the thought leaders – it would certainly be a quick way of finding out if the ideas for the manisons of the future are built of stone or straw!

1 thought on “The rhetoric of change

  1. Pingback: Teaching Generation Z » Is Idealism Dead?

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