Holding On or Holding Out – A Remembrance of Things Past
creative commons licensed (BY-NC-SA) flickr photo by Jack Snell – USA: http://flickr.com/photos/jacksnell707/3176997491
I recently helped clean up some of my Mum’s stuff. She was a heavily religious person and had kept endless diaries and journals containing various thoughts and reflections. Although my siblings and I got rid of a lot of bible study materials, however I just couldn’t bring myself to dispose of all her diaries. Beyond the images and memories, those diaries represented my last connection to my mum. The reality though is that there is a fine line between holding onto objects and items for prosperity and actually clearing things and moving on.
Often the same can be said about education and the call for change. It is so easy to get caught up in nostalgia. Remembering things as they once were. The problem with such memories is that they often reference an idyllic reality that was not such idyllic. However, having said this, it is also important to recognise how we got to today.
The worst thing that we can do though is forgetting the past. So often the call is made to sweep everything aside and start from scratch with some sort of educational ‘year zero’. To me, this is the danger of the call for an education revolution. As much as I love listening to Sir Ken Robinson speak and agree with many of the points that he makes, the problem with a ‘revolution’ is that it promotes starting anew, beginning again, rather than reforming and re-visioning what we already have. The problem I see with this is that it gives the impression that what occurred in the past was wrong and broken. When change involves people working constructively together, this does not allow much room for conversation. See my post on furore around Johanna O’Farrell.
I understand that things could and should change. However, I prefer +Jason Markey‘s call for evolution, that is change for the better. Too often, Markey points out, we see change as being for change’s sake. Instead, evolution is about changing to advance our present state.
This is something that I elaborated on in my post ‘So Which Pedagogical Cocktail Are You Drinking?‘, in that what is important is actually reflecting on the situation at hand and utilising the most appropriate practise for the particular context, rather than dictating that you must do this or you must not do that. This means being open to all facets of learning and teaching, but most importantly being aware of the consequences of our pedagogical choices.
Although it is fine to hold onto things, to saviour something, when these memories and ideas hold us back from moving on and moving forward, we are left holding out for a past that has already been, rather than a future awaiting our arrival. The challenge that we all face is finding a balance in order to produce a better tomorrow.
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