Monday, 12 February 2007

Paul Kasierman sent me Ken Robinson's brilliant contribution to the Music Manifesto Conference. It really made me think and interestingly connected so powerfully with the things we are saying and doing here in Leeds.

Ken said that we need to recognise that where we are with education, learning and schools, the initiatives we are involved in and the people we are... they are all the consequences of the journeys we have been on as individuals over the last however many years. I have been doing this for over 33 years and if we collect together the talent, the wisdom, the experience, the knowledge and understanding and the insight we have across Leeds we can build brilliant learners, brilliant learning places and brilliant learning communities.

Ken highligyhts that we are travelling through difficult and troubled times and that many of us have struggled over the years against a national framework... a potential straight-jacket which has in many ways limited and constrained learning rather than liberating and enabling it. This is an important time, they always are I hear you say. But it is an important time for those of us who are passionate about learning and how we create brilliant learners, briliant learning places and brilliant learning organisations. Ken syas that we simply can't continue to tinker, to fiddle, to refine and to adjust the controls every five minutes... the current systems simply aren't fit for purpose!

Ken's fundamental challenge is that the world is becoming increasingly complex, increasingly diverse and how we connect and communicate in this new conceptual age is critical to our success as individuals, as communities, as a city and as a country. Everything is changing and we had better wake up, stop looking backwards and start looking forwards. Looking forwards to a digital world, a world driven by abundance, automation, technology and global skills. We must understand that intelligence is everywhere... it is rich and diverse, it is dynamic and it is unique to each and everyone of us and not restricted to a priviledged and special few. As Dirk would say everyone is bright and everyone has a talent... it's the educators job to find it and to nurture and grow it.

We have missed the point with our never-ending focus and attention on testing and data and accountability and we must refocus our collective energies on creating a more personal, a more vivid, a more engaging and more stimulating offer for ALL our children, our young people, our families and our communities. If we are going to succeed in this challenge we must develop three things in our children, our families and our communities... creativity, capability and confidence. We must re-imagine our learning places and build.. brilliant leadership, brilliant teaching and intelligent assessment and accountability systems. We must work together to invent pathways to learning, pathways to excellence, pathways to success.

We must transform our provision... buidling on the outstanding practice we have here in Leeds and getting rid of the irrelevant, the redundant and the obsolete which clutters our lives. We must radically change the way we encourage, coach, nurture and support our children and young people, our families and our communities to become brilliant learners. This is fundamentally a partnership enterprise, a community enterprise, a cultural enterprise, an economic enterprise and above all it's a passionate enterprise.
And by the way anyone can join in!


1 comment:

set said...

Smart pencils

K didn’t even let me get into the office. Instead she sent me a car which had me slightly unsettled from the start. I started feeling really nervous when it turned left and began to head up the M6. On the way I got an e-mail from her instructing me to find out everything I could about ‘Smart pencils’. The driver didn’t like me. He said it was my fault we he had to go north.

The school

At first I thought it was quite big because it had 16 pupils in each class. Then I realised that there was only one class to the whole thing, so I suppose it’s about average. It has a slate roof. I can see a lake and it’s raining. On the way we stopped at somewhere called Keswick. A sign said, ‘Welcome to Keswick, home of the pencil, you’ll never leave!’ The driver refused to go further leaving me to continue my journey into the outback on a mule.

Healthy eating

Something isn’t quite right here. They have a huge barn full of carrots and a man dressed as a lumberjack spends all day throwing them into some kind of a shredder. In the kitchen the cook presses this carroty pulp into pencil shaped terrines. All the children’s pupils are dilated. They have the best SATs results in the country. The cook has green eyes and when she looks at me I feel like summer inside.


I followed a couple of infants into the glen. They disappeared behind a boulder. On closer inspection I discovered a narrow entrance to a dark cavern. I e-mailed K to send me a torch and went back to my room at The Dead Sheep.

Healthy eating II

As I walked back into the village there was some kind of party going on. In spite of the cold weather there seemed to be several couples romantically engaged on the village green. I locked myself in my room and tried to sleep. It was then that I heard the cook singing in the next room. The noise from downstairs muffled it but I think it went like this,

‘let me mash thy carrots for thou light be trapped within,
oh let me squash thou carrot let me press it in my tin,’

As she sang her hands slid over the wall between our rooms, beating out the rhythm of music below. I don’t feel safe here. K is cruel.