Visions and values #EEVV351
|One of my students @sophiefownes developing an essay response|
This past few months we have seen several lectures and seminars that have explored the nuances, implications and impacts of a variety of curricula, philosophies, ideologies and cultures. The students have been highly engaged, and have paid the price, often leaving the sessions saying 'my head hurts' or 'I'm really confused now', and other hearty expressions of deep learning we lecturers just love to hear. This week we also had a BBC Question Time style panel, where several courageous lecturers from the team sat on a panel and took questions from all angles, around politics, the media, cultural and historical issues, philosophy (both personal and general), societal and psychological perspectives, teacher roles, and a whole host of other, unpredictable questions that are hard to answer and even harder to articulate in short sentences (it's the supplementary question that's the killer!) Questions came from both inside and outside the lecture hall, as educators around the globe joined in and eavesdropped on the conversation through the module Twitter hashtag #EEVV351. I have been pleasantly surprised and gratified by the level of participation of those from outside the group, but of course, with tools like Twitter, the community of learners can be widened significantly beyond traditional boundaries. So much so, I believe, that the live webstreaming next year's delivery of the module (including the lectures and discussions) is an absolute must. More on the plans for this in a later communication.
|Student mind map|
Here's just a sample of some of the questions that were tackled during the panel session: If you each had the power to design a curriculum, what would you put at the core? How would education change if it were free of political influence and control? How much respect do you think teachers have in society? Is the answer maybe the reason why we are not defining the curriculum? Does education really change? Does a curriculum define the most important things children learn? Do we need a curriculum at all? Would there be chaos or creativity? What are the worst (and the best) changes you have seen in schools over the past decade? Who should not be allowed to define the curriculum? and finally the most pithy: If children are our future and the reason for education, how far should they be allowed to define the curriculum?
Debates around the tension between traditionalist and progressive education methods, the political implications of education, comparisons between international education systems, and the influence of media, industry and local communities on children's education raged continuously throughout the module. My students now have to unpick all of this. They need to make sense of it. They will struggle, and they will agonise about what to put in their 5000 word assignments, and what to leave out. They have already learnt a lot. But their biggest lesson will come when they attempt to follow one particular line of reasoning, only to realise that there are multiple layers of explanation, a whole host of lines of reasoning and an entire spectrum of ways of understanding the business of learning. I wish them every success and hope their heads hurt just a little bit more as they try to make sense of all this.
Photos by Steve Wheeler
Visions and values #EEVV351 by Steve Wheeler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.