What is the most important thing about this moment for you?
I have finished reading Sir Ken Robinson’s book ‘Creative Schools – Revolutionizing Education from the Ground Up’
I loved it. I was so taken with the sense of possibility and the examples of how people have made such a difference in schools around the world. The thing that always strikes me when I hear or read these things is that in order for this type inspirational change to occur the situation has often hit the lowest point it can. All other main stream options have not produced the results required so the school (often with a new head) is given the freedom to do things differently or creatively! Then all manner of great things happen.
This is a problem because most of the education system is kind of ‘OK’ in most peoples eyes. We want things to be better but don’t want to rock the boat too much. But these great things would happen in any school in any situation.
Why would you not want to:
-Listen to what the children say
-Have happy staff all working together with a common ethos
-Be surrounded by happy, positive people
-Enjoy being part of the whole community of pupils,staff,parents and those living around the school
-Share in the joy of learning together
The real question should be for all schools – Is what you are doing in this moment from a place of fear or joy?
I say this partly because as I finished the book I read a review from a writer at TES which absolutely slated it.
While everyone is entitled to their opinions what I was left with was my roller coaster of emotions.
I had finished reading Creative Schools and felt great, then I read the review and felt heartbroken and sad. After some thought it seemed to me that my feelings were not about what was said in the review (or the book for that matter) but the feeling I got from the writers.
One was open, positive and almost a celebration of joy and the other a fearful slamming. My interest is in why the review was written in the way it was rather than just the fact it didn’t agree with the book.
I took this thought forward into some music workshops I have been doing at an Academy School. This school is in the middle of a very poor area. There are major behavioural issues with some pupils and I know the school is changing its focus away from being creative to a more ‘traditional’ outlook. This always saddens me because I know how the arts can really speak to those children who seem so lost in school. I started to get a little despondent about the situation and the system and how things could be ‘better’ in my eyes anyway.
It sometimes seems so hard to make people see the whole picture but I realised that you don’t have to. At that moment I had the opportunity to share my joy of what we were doing with the class. My energy came from excitement and joy not fear. While one or two children still seemed to find their situation a struggle a larger proportion willed each other to a level of achievement and enjoyment not felt before. It is only for an hour a week for 8 weeks but each visit has a sense of opportunity, it opens a window of light for those children to have seen only darkness for lots of their life.
Given a blank canvass I would do the workshops in a very different way in a different system. That used to be my frustration but now I see that in every moment I can except what I can not change and show those around me what could be.
At this point every moment is opening someones window a little further and that is ‘my’ most important thing.
It is the collection of everyones ‘moments’ that helps change and it is creating a place to share these joyful experiences I want to focus on now.
Here are the links to Sir Ken Robinson’s book and the TES review. I would be very interested to know your thoughts.
Thanks for now…..