Ask the experts ??

May 26, 2009 at 5:14 pm 1 comment

Futurelab_logo_colour small Ken-Rob-2-763967 small

During the past week I attended two events in London, both on the theme of the future of education. The first was at the British Academy and was a discussion day about the future of education organised by Futurelab, the second was at The Purcell Rooms on Southbank and was an event to mark the 10th anniversary of the ‘All our futures’ programme, which is chaired by Sir Ken Robinson.

The first was around general issues about the future if education fuelled by Futurlab’s research in this area. The second was about ‘creativity’ (or lack of it) in education. Across both these events, which were worthwhile attending, there was a common, and unfortunately not unusual, lack of young people’s voices in any significant way.

When I raised the issue at the Futurelab event it was met with the usual comment that there is so much information to gather that it is not always, unfortunately, possible to represent everything in their research. This is a common response (I raise this question on a regular basis at different events I attend). What I would like to know is that if it is hard to represent all views why is it always young people’s views that are left out.  And also, if not everything is represented, is the research actually relevant.

Another interesting issue that arose was about creativity in schools. When Sir Ken Robinson talks about creativity in schools he means as an integral part of the whole of schooling, and not just an adjunct (e.g. creativity hour).  At the Futurelab event I raised the issue of the ‘freeze frame’ technique (the technique of getting young people to enact an event, freeze at a certain point, and describe how the character they are portraying thinks and feels at that moment) and its value as a teaching/learning technique.

It was my 14 year old daughter who introduced me to this technique (something she had come across in drama classes) and her who suggested that it might have a role across the whole curriculum.

I introduced this at the Futurelab event as an example of why it is valuable to seek young peoples views (I would never have found out about it had we not been chatting over dinner), how such teaching and learning possibilities may themselves inform building and space requirements (such techniques require space), and how creativity could be integrated across all subjects.

Unfortunately, the ‘expert’ panel to whom I addressed this didn’t really ‘get’ it. They understood the value of this having come from my daughter (pupil voice) but didn’t, I felt, get the fact that I was referring to the technique being used across all subjects, not just as a good technique for drama. Nor did they get the implications this would have on school, building design (vis a vis the BSF debacle).

This was disappointing. My difficulty is that if the so called experts whom I would expect to be ‘on side’ don’t understand these issues the great hopes for the future as I see them are very distant indeed.

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Entry filed under: Building Schools for the Future, Education, Future, Pupil voice.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. saintmarksacademy  |  May 26, 2009 at 5:55 pm

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Mick Landmann on education, digital technology, and the 21st century

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