Where have all the brave educators gone was the question?
In some ways the post has struck such a cord with me that it has made me sit up and think about this question for the last few days. I agree with Bruce in so many ways: Why when we know that things are not working do we keep doing the same thing? Over and over again, year after year? Why are talking about new skills for the 21st century - when we are 16 years into the 21st century?
People keep going to conferences by 'leading people' but what changes for our students?
How could students benefit if we as educators stood up and took that brave step? The step to create the change we talk about? I am not saying conferences aren't useful, or that 'leading people' aren't inspiring, but I am saying what are we doing to equip our students if our teachers are not is a place to take the step.
Twelve months ago I had a conversation with my then 13 year old who is now almost 15 and it went like this.
Conversation of the day . . .
J: Mum you know Kim ?
Me: No (I should have stopped here) Should I?
J: He is a famous Viner
Me: (I should have said Ok) "Oh really what is a Viner?"
J: really mum? A viner makes vines
Me: (Ok now I have gone in for the full conversation) Oh - and how does he do that?
J: What do you mean?
Me: (note to self - check you understand the meaning of the term before talking to a teen) I mean how does Kim ? make vines ? I am surprised that you are interested in vineyards/wine
J: (laughing hysterically) No he is a VINER - he creates vines!
Me: Still not knowing that I should have said 'Oh OK' - well what is a VINER and what is a VINE?
J: A viner makes videos - and a vine is a 6 sec video
Me: Really and people are famous for 6 sec videos?
J: Like yeh! He is a multi millionaire
Me: oh gee I should start making 6 sec videos
J: (laughing hysterically) I don't think you could - like you have to know what to do
Me: I could learn - that is a well paid job
J: You have to be funny or clever or creative -
Quite clearly my son thinks I am none of the above and at least I know what a Viner is now!
The point of sharing the conversation... of course I am acknowledging that I am a learner and hope that I will always be a learner, but more clearly this illustrates this is yet another one of the jobs that were not invented last year that are possible careers for the kids of today!
We all need to be one of the 'Brave Educators' that Bruce spoke about.
This is the 21st century and while it is changing rapidly and students will have opportunities that we don't know or understand - YET - that is not an excuse.
We need to equip them with a range of skills and attitudes that will empower them to be open to possibilities, to problem solve and think, to understand that learning is powerful, knowledge is useful and that making connections and reflecting on the how? the why? and the what's next? will place them in a situation where they are able to collaborate with others to take on challenges.
Lots of teachers inspire each other, making connections via social media, like twitter, forums and FBpages, they create their own professional development opportunities... they are the brave educators!
The brave educators are busy, they are working in classrooms all over the world doing what they can, step by step, to empower their students. That's where the brave educators are!