Sunday, February 1, 2015

Why Must We and How Might We?

Even though my last post joined the call to stop talking about it and just get on with it we still keep getting reminders of why the schooling system needs transformation. I've referred in previous posts to the demise faced by Kodak, the Swiss Watch Industry and the impending impact of change on the newspaper industry.

In the last 10 days three other examples of established businesses which we have taken for granted facing enormous unrest as the personalisation we want to promote in schooling is being demanded elsewhere.

I don't know anything about Uber but I think it is a customer-on-demand taxi service which is bypassing the established taxi companies. What I do know is that the taxi industry is demanding government intervention to reduce the impact on them. May be the best tactic would be to see how the current businesses could shift and explore how they might provide a similar experience.

A few days later I saw an ad for, Harmony, a peer-to-peer money lending system which bypasses banks and links lenders directly with borrowers. I suspect the banking system is going to have to either develop some agility and responsiveness or......?

Then today I read an article that described the major changes that we are going to be experiencing in our TV viewing over the next few weeks which will see traditional TV scheduling and viewing disappearing into the sunset, along with any organisation involved which doesn't develop the necessary agility.

There is no doubt that more and more of the 'institutions' we have been accustomed to are being transformed by the increasing demand for personalisation. Another example is the number of people I know who now no longer listen to a radio station but personalise their learning through Spotify.

Make no mistake; schools are going to be subjected to the same demands and we all need to be stretching to ensure we will be agile enough to transform. Future (not too far away!) focused schools are doing more than stretching and are already developing models that are able to respond to the desire for personalisation in schooling.

Even those of us (schools I mean) who are at the leading edge of this development need to keep testing if they are delivering.

I was comfortable, though a little disappointed, that five students were not to return this year. In each case it was because we had shifted too far from the traditional model for those parents (not necessarily supported by their kids). It has made sure that we will pose the question: "How Might We ensure our vision and practices are shared with our parents so that all develop confidence in us as an effective school?"

To hear tonight that one student was not returning because we hadn't been able to break free from the shackles of traditional schooling enough has made me sit up and think. This student and her family appreciate how far we have gone with inquiry and critical thinking but feel we haven't been able to place a student's creativity at the centre of all of their learning. They want their daughter's programme to be based entirely around her passions and areas of interest, totally unshackled from the constraints of a curriculum document's requirements for Learning Area coverage and from the shackles of a whole school timetable.

Bugger it! That's the sort of school I want!

How might we create a school that allows some young people to construct their own curriculum?

This is a big HMW and I'm looking forward to exploring some answers and I feel confident we'll give it a good crack. Why? You should see the team we have on deck for 2015:
Staff exploring the dimensions of what it means to be Warm and Demanding

How Might We unleash the potential of the people in this space to answer all of our HMWs?


Karyn said...

Great post, as always Maurie. Your thinking and that of your staff, is so important for everyone to read, and especially for those of us in geographical isolation.
Your Commitment To self reflection, awareness and evaluation and
Acting on All of that is a model we all need to follow. Thank you.

Bede Gilmore said...

Wow - lose students for being too far from traditional, lose students for being too traditional. That's a challenge!
I like your mindset about it - HMW?!

ginippi said...

Thanks for sharing this. I guess it just shows what a broad range of "schooling" student/parent-clients are looking for. We can't please everyone. We have to do what we believe in, change and grow. I like the HMW .... but doing this wothout losing sight of our core values is the tricky part. Look forward to following your journey.