We've all seen and heard Sir Ken Robinson' s famous talk on education. While posing the question "Do schools kill creativity?" he discusses the hierarchy within education. Maths, English and Science, with the creative arts falling in behind. This also reflects the time given to learning in these areas i.e the creative arts being time poor.
The research into numeracy and literacy shows that if a learner hasn't got basic structures and strategies sussed by age 8 it gets exponentially harder to bridge the gaps as they grow. In Dr Betty Edwards book "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" she discusses our development as an artist through our drawing development. We all start at the same place and develop in a similar way. Like with numeracy and literacy, at about age 8 a gap starts to appear. How many of you say you 'can't draw?' Betty suggests that it has nothing to do with talent, which you are about to suggest and all about positive feedback which leads to more practise and negative feedback leading to less practise. Hold these thoughts.
Now back to the hierarchy. In a traditional school setting students are time poor when it comes to spending time immersed in the arts and it is this situation which Sir Ken is suggesting is effecting creativity, a quality we need in todays world.
The structure of learning at Rolleston College Horoeka Haemata is going to be different. We are wanting to be a school that doesn't kill creativity. But how do we ensure that curriculum areas don't have the same time poor issues as the past?
Maybe we need to embrace hierarchy? Maybe we can't do without it? Maybe, in the range of cross curricular projects and bodies of work our learners will create, we need the project lead to be shared equally by all curriculum areas in the beginning. Over time, this will allow our learners to create their own learning hierarchy as they progress through their time at Horoeka Haemata with the subjects they are passionate about at the top.
To do this we are going to have to create a really good map that is transparent to allow learners, educators and parents the ability to see the learning that is being done.
I've started a new job! It's a unique opportunity. It's at a brand new school, so new in fact it's still wrapped in plastic as I type. This means we have term 4 to reflect on the past and what the future could and will look like with out the pressure of students.
At Rolleston College we are going to be doing things quite differently from the ways of the past. Dr Julia Atkin in so many of her presentations about change says you should first of all ask the question 'Why?'. In the two weeks leading up to starting my new position there were a couple of links to articles that turned up on social media that are part of the answer that question for me.
The first was written by Nigal Latta for the Star Sunday Times outlining his thoughts on the direction the New Zealand economy needs to evolve. For me his second last sentence says it all "it's that they find little niches in the world market and fill them." I'm no economic expert, but to me, it seems the best way for a small country in the South Pacific to compete on the world stage.
The second 'Nigal Latta only tells half the story on the economy' was by Geoff Simmons for the Morgan Foundation. In it he talks about how more than half of our national wealth is in housing and the affect this has on our businesses ability to step into overseas markets.
To effect change that can address the issues outlined in these two articles, we need to look to our youth. No pressure on teachers, but if we do things differently in education, then maybe in the near distant future things will start to change more in the New Zealand economy.
The interesting thing, is the inspiration and exemplars are out there. At the same time I was reading the above articles these two came out. One on Jamie Beaton and his Crimson Consulting company raising of capital in New York. Tech based companies are an obvious direction but not the only one. This article on Celia Robinson, group co-CEO of Myfoodbag gets you thinking how big could it get?
Dan Pink in his book 'A whole new mind' talks about the world entering the 'Conceptual Age' and suggests that to survive and thrive in this age you need to ask 3 simple questions. Can a computer do what you do faster? Can someone in the world do what you do cheaper? Are you producing something in demand in the age of abundance? If you answer yes to the first 2 and no to the last, things will be tough.
I like what Dan has to say in his book and the two examples of success above answer his questions in the way they need to in the conceptual age.
Some of the best PD discussions are had in the staffroom over a coffee. My posts are intended to be like one of those conversations. Feel free to join the conversation, we just might help each other out. My opinions are my own.