Thought I’d contribute a small piece reflecting on a stimulating and intellectually exhausting day at #EduPic11. The event, organised by Ollie Bray, Laurie O’Donnell and David Cameron (no, not that one) sought to bring together a broad constituency of people involved in differing learning sectors to address three ostensibly simple questions:
– What could Scottish education look like at its very best?
– Where are we now?
– What could we do to make it better?
There was a different, unspoken question being posed too.
What would a conference look like without a keynote?
What if a conference afforded all participants the opportunity to contribute to a consensus? This type of egalitarianism echoes the approach of TeachMeet and other UnConference initiatives that attempt to foreground the potential of conferences to create new relationships. It was refreshing to see the variety of people attending and I found the freewheeling, round-table format enabled some lively discussions. Drawing (in more ways than one!) these together was Graham Ogilvie who flitted about listening into discussions and sketched out illustrations of salient points up for discussion. It was an interesting, creative approach and one that provided a really valuable and comprehensible insight into the very many conversations being had on the day!
This also goes some way towards explaining where the event was (depending on your point of view) successful or a victim of overreach. The sheer volume of different discussions held over a short period of time presented a real challenge both to organisers and participants. The Flickr stream of Graham’s illustrations has actually enabled me to get a bit more sense of the day than I had when we finished up at 4.30.
Over the course of the day I was involved in discussions which addressed (among a great many other things)
outdoor learning, parental involvement, the role of the inspectorate, what schools can learn from Colleges, the desirability of autonomy for schools from LA control, communications and marketing strategy for CfE, the responsibilities of communities to support learning, how partnerships work (and don’t work, and need to work!), how the best learning occurs when the sh*t hits the fan, whether we are moving from a “sheepdip” model of CPD to a “pitstop” model, do we put too much pressure on schools to abdicate responsibility for learning (as a society? as families?),stress as an agent of inertia, how can we have a broader mix of professionalism without diluting excellence in the teaching profession, how can we free find evaluative or assessment models that tell the learning story (or for that matter, have the learners tell their own story), whether we should “park” standards of inspection for secondary schools for an extended period to enable the development of the curriculum.
Throughout the day the discussions were punctuated with interventions from David Cameron inquiring about how a culture of learning can be built. Some people might feel the list above indicates the event bit of more than it could chew but I certainly felt these are discussions that not only need to happen but need to happen everywhere if we’re to get the message out. It was really interesting to watch some of the original developers of CfE discussing the University of Strathclyde’s Education CPD Society with Morven Skinnider- the future of CfE depends on everyone’s involvement in discussions as to what it should look like!
The day concluded with a number of “provocations” from participants. The organisers said that videos would be shared so I’d prefer to leave discussion of this until then (when I could potentially embed them here if people feel that’d be useful).
So there we go. Lots of ground covered, more questions than we started out with and no easy answers. But a demonstrable appetite to address major issues in learning.