I attended an event at LT Scotland’s Glasgow office last week (yes, in my holidays) which proved to be a stimulating event.

I can’t better the summary posted by Nick Hood.

 My question to the panel quoted from Fullan and Hargreaves’ ‘What’s Worth Fighting for in your School?’. I was about to ask it when I realised I was doing exactly what I was complaining about: using language that excludes those ‘not in the know’. Luckily I realised this in time and reframed the question. Here it is:

How do we mitigate against a ‘Balkanised culture’ in which separate factions reflect and reinforce very different group outlooks on learning and teaching, the curriculum, and 21st century education?

I had in mind not just those who sit at training or staff meetings with arms crossed and ‘lips pursed like a dog’s bottom’ but also those whose passion for the next new gadget or idea imbue them with a sense of virtue and superiority.

I’m afraid I fall into both categories at times.

Nick has a more complete summary of the thoughts of the panel. I was so worried about what I would say if the chair asked for my opinion that I fear I didn’t pay the fullest attention.

My feeling is that it is essential for a common understanding to be thrashed out prior to real change occurring. Shared meanings must not be assumed. Some consensus about definitions of such terms as self-directed learning, readiness and interest grouping, locus of control, multi-modal resources, authentic assessment, divergent thinking, is essential. Most importantly the notion that societal transformation is happening now and that the current way of doing things is untenable in the 21st century needs to be grasped by all concerned in education. Such radical reframing takes time and support.

 It is impossible to mitigate entirely against diverse clusters forming – that’s how people are – but open discussion about the philosophy of change and the impact this has on us all is one way to promote an ethos that is moving towards re-conceiving the culture, structure and processes in which we all learn.