Sunday, May 01, 2005
There is no master plan!
Jackson Pollack - expressionist painter.
In this fast changing world there is no grand plan held by the technocrats in Wellington, as much as they would like to think so!
All this certainty was put to rest by Darwin and his theory of evolution. Life evolves and it is impossible to predict what will eventuate. This applies to the universe as much as it own lives.
This provides real challenges for individuals and organizations.
The best thing is to work out where you want to go, and then to cope with whatever happens. As far as organizations (including schools) go, the ideal is to clarify a shared purpose, vision, or sense of direction that all buy into. As important is to agree to a set of shared values, interpreted as behaviors, to use as a moral compass to base decisions on. Whatever is agreed to, it must equally encourage diversity and creativity of all members to ensure evolutionary ideas are introduced to ensure growth and survival.
A few quotes:
‘We must build curriculums on messy authentic tasks.’ Grant Wiggens.
So out with all those detailed pre plans.
‘Curriculum guides must be more like a compass and a sextant than an itinerary.’ G Wiggens.
‘We need problems that cause students to …conduct inquiry, fashion agreement, and develop quality products.’ John Dewey 1916
I like the quality products – sometimes schools introduce all the inquiry skills and produce little of quality! Higher order thinking for thin learning!
‘There is a temptation to assume presenting subject mater in its perfect form to prove a royal road to learning.’ John Dewey 1933
Tell that to the curriculum developers!
‘The young should be given the chance to solve problems, to conjecture, to quarrel, as these are done at the heart of every discipline.’ Jerome Bruner 1966
As Michael Apple says, ‘There is no grand plan!’
By all means expose students to a full range of experiences. You never know which will attract an individual learner. But as Robert Hutchins aid, ‘You can tell a good teacher by the number of important things they decline to teach'.
At Leading and Learning we have always believed in teachers doing fewer things well and that in depth discovery and personal creative expression are equally valuable.