The king is in his counting house

Our education system as one of the major instruments for the maintenance of both the positive and negative aspects of our culture. Liberation theory broadly suggest that society’s cultural system perpetuates power relationships and holds people (and groups) in place like an invisible web. There are of course numerous branches and extremes (including anarchism) associated with Libertarianism – so like most things, it’s up for nit-picking.

Can we realistically see a more open, libertarian climate for how we shape and deliver education in schools?

There is trend in education to deliver on cognitive and intellect (documents, policy, frameworks), but to merely debate social and emotional influences (are mobiles bad, is Facebook evil etc.,) Focusing solely on cognitive or intellectual development and ignoring social and emotional influences on the learning process reduces the effectiveness of teaching. After all, being in a room and exposed to information – does not mean we are motivated to ‘learn’ as such. Failing to recognise the intellectual and cognitive aspects of emotional and social issues allows teachable moments to pass unnoticed, when they could put into place actions that correspond with the emerging cognitive, emotional, and social elements of learning – to take a risk and evaluate it on evidence.

Present cultural norms and practices must be identified and deleted, where appropriate, while new ones must be nurtured. We often hear people in teacher education recount how hard it is to ‘get people to come to the workshop’ and even harder it is to get them to take personal-action as a result.

There must be trust between the teacher and the student that they are both open to change. Attendance or being on a ‘team’ to do something with a new technology does not automatically mean either are open to the potential changes made. We need to see students included in these discussions perhaps – and drop the mother-knows-best mentality.

In a traditional setting (classroom, workshop, presentation) –  negativity is actually provoked. Self-doubt, hostility, resentment, boredom, frustration – negative feelings that interfere with learning, where as a participatory culture – though reflection, removal of hierarchy (badges and labels of power) promotes more mutual authority, co-operation, hope, empathy and respect – this is what the online world looks like (if you are in it).

When we look at how an organization typically goes about getting what it wants verses how online communities achieve group and individual goals – there is a clear culture gap. If leaders (non-teaching executives) are focused on cognitive and intellect, though policy and not experiencing and participating in today’s vibrant social and emotionally charged online communities (with students)– can we realistically any real change in the outlook.

The king is in the counting house so to speak – when he needs to be in the virtual-playgrounds or at least inviting teachers into the keep.