Conferência Internacional Todos os Nossos Futuros: Brasil

A natureza da educação está mudando rapidamente em todo o mundo. Novos currículos e novas abordagens de ensino e aprendizagem, as condições de mudanças sociais em que as crianças e jovens estão crescendo, os desafios técnicos e ambientais que todos enfrentamos: todos estes produzem pressões extraordinárias sobre os valores, os propósitos e o papel da educação para professores e alunos.

A natureza da educação está mudando rapidamente em todo o mundo. Novos currículos e novas abordagens de ensino e aprendizagem, as condições de mudanças sociais em que as crianças e jovens estão crescendo, os desafios técnicos e ambientais que todos enfrentamos: todos estes produzem pressões extraordinárias sobre os valores, os propósitos e o papel da educação para professores e alunos.

O programa é um evento sem fins-lucrativos, direcionado para diretores de escolas, professores, líderes e gestores educacionais, visando introduzir as práticas pedagógicas locais para profissionais estrangeiros no setor de educação, com o objetivo de criar uma rede mundial de troca de conhecimento em práticas de ensino e aprendizado.

Sob a direção da autoridade, reconhecida e nomeada, do Dr. Nick Owen, Aspire Trust gostaria de contar com a participação das melhores escolas e iniciativas educacionais do Rio de Janeiro para esse evento – além dos convidados especiais que irão falar sobre diferentes aspectos da sua experiência profissional ligada ao ensino e desenvolvimento dos jovens brasileiros. Precisamos do empenho de sua organização em receber três educadores por 4 dias consecutivos em Outubro de 2013.

Trabalhando juntos, promoveremos idéias originais e visões positivas para o ensino de crianças e jovens no mundo inteiro.

For further information contact me at nick@aspire-trust.org

The OfSTED inspection: how to be in your very own Truman Show

The Truman Show is a film is set in a hypothetical town called Seahaven built in an enormous dome, and is dedicated to a continually running television show, The Truman Show. Only the central character, Truman Burbank, is unaware that he lives in an almost solipsistic constructed reality for the entertainment of those outside. The film follows his discovery of his situation and his attempts to escape. Central characters fake friendship to Truman, and in the case of his “wife”, bury their real feelings of disgust.

The OfSTED inspection is an example of a solipsistic epistemological position in that one’s own perceptions are the only things that can be known with certainty. The nature of the external world – schools — , the source of one’s perceptions — can not be conclusively known; they may not even exist at all. Truman himself can be viewed as an equivalent fictional school ofsted inspector who when visiting schools, tends to witness flowers decorating school corridors and toilet paper in the school toilets.

Inspection day can be presented as a lovely sunny day with bright blue skies; there’s not a care in the world, the children are well behaved and courteous, teachers well dressed and courteous, and its like this every day with pupils dutifully drinking water to enhance their learning and no-one objects to the Jamie Oliver inspired New School Dinner which has caused much wringing of hands and emptying of budgets.

But as in the Truman Show, the inspector is surrounded by central characters in the school who have to fake friendship and find methods to bury their real feelings of disgust in order to maintain the solipsistic constructed reality of the Government Inspector.

There won’t be any shouting in the new school!

So said one principal of a new centre for learning recently. Unfortunately, some new schools, new centres for learning even, seem to ignore some uncomfortable realities about what it is to be a young person, teacher or indeed even human being.

Whatever the rhetoric of dialogue and conversation, there will be staff meetings where announcements are made followed by the brusque shouting out of names, machine gun rat-a-tat of information and further name shouting.

Whatever the architectural demands, there will still be a desire of young women and young men to occupy different spaces when it comes to their ablutions, picking off of acne scabs and throwing of ciggies down the latrines.

Whatever the politics of corridor decoration, posters will become magnets for other posters and there will always a school wag who has to make their mark on the pristine wall hanging.

Whatever the urge for academic rigour and attainment, the fibs will continue to flow cheerfully. The only school ever to have received this national award? The best performance of Grease I’ve ever seen in any school? Mr. Jones was one of the best appointments I ever made? Thank goodness we’re all one big happy community!

Sometimes, we have to give thanks to the portacabins, the empty fields and unassuming concrete of the sixties. They’ve seen many rhetorical times live and fade away and have at least left fond memories of those who once prowled the school perimeters, eating crisps and tearing their school blazers on the boundary barbed wire.

Artists in schools: Preparing the workforce of the 21st century with the employment practices of the 19th

Employing artists in schools is frequently couched in terms of preparing the workforce of the 21st century (ie children). It’s a pity then that it’s the employment practices of the 19th century which are used to bring about this transformation.  This includes:

  • The absence of any job description or focused person specification;
  • The need to wait patiently at the dock gates (or, in contemporary terms, at the end of phone or email correspondence chain) for the whims, airs and graces of the dockside steward (aka programme co-ordinator)
  • No career structure;
  • Favouritism, lack of transparency about employment practices and avoiding anybody who looks like they might have an opinion, are going to argue back or at the very least critique the so-called work plan.

If you get through the dock yard and onto the boat, you can be confronted with wish lists of multiple dreams which contain all the packaged up school problems, organisational stupidities and blocks which need solving by some kind of outside magic – or failing that, the artist workshop who comes to school for 6 half days a term and is still expected to tolerate the sponsored bouncy castle event intruding into the rare time that has been allocated.

Go on, they say, wow us then…