Resilience Required NOW!

Photo by Wang Whale on Unsplash What if 2023 is more disrupted than 2022? What if there are more of these empty desks? Would we be prepared? Most who know me regard me as an optimist, someone who looks on the ‘bright side’ of things. Certainly, throughout my career I have had the privilege of being involved in a wide range of innovative and ‘hope-bringing’ initiatives. Some may say it’s a result of how I’m wired, and there’s bound to be truth in that. But another reason is that I’ve always had a fascination with emerging ideas and innovations, and … Continue reading Resilience Required NOW!

Why is transformation difficult?

Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash “Transformation is a process, and as life happens there are tons of ups and downs. It’s a journey of discovery – there are moments on mountaintops and moments in deep valleys of despair.” Rick Warren My previous post on transformation vs reform has attracted lots of feedback in a variety of forums, so I thought I’d follow up with this one, posing the question, ‘why is transformation so difficult?’ On the face of it there appears to be growing agreement around the need for transformation in education. The UN Transforming Education Summit in New York … Continue reading Why is transformation difficult?

When does the future start?

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” Mother Theresa This week I visited a school that had been struggling in the past couple of decades, but since the appointment of a new principal five years ago there has been an amazing transformation in almost every way imaginable. Students are wanting to come to school now, there’s no difficulty attracting staff, the learning programmes have been changed to be inspiring and learner-centred, and the tone of the school as you walk around reflects a culture of genuine caring, collaboration and pride in the … Continue reading When does the future start?

Lessons on strategy from riding a bike

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving” Albert Einstein Riding a bike is something I’ve been doing since I was very young. It’s still something I do by choice to simply get around the place when the weather and time permit, and I enjoy it as a way of getting exercise by taking long rides along the river trails or, occasionally, up the hills around where I live. As I was out on my bike yesterday my mind wandered back to when I learned to ride, and some of the lessons that enabled … Continue reading Lessons on strategy from riding a bike

Courage and collectivity

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ Albert Einstein. Educational change has been a hot topic across the globe over the past decade or so. There are now libraries of books on the subject, and post-graduate degrees specialising the area. But despite all of this, achieving change seems a daunting task. There are a couple of important things to consider here. What change are we trying to achieve, and (more importantly) why? A quick look at … Continue reading Courage and collectivity

Building – and sustaining – innovation

With nearly 45 years of experience working in education, I find myself reflecting on exactly what it is I have achieved in that time. With each of my own kids now pursuing their own life ambitions, and now my eldest grand-kids at the age where they’re thinking about the ways they might contribute to society – there are often times we find ourselves discussing exactly what’s important in life. Generally we arrive back at the same place – we all want to have ‘made a difference’ in some way. I didn’t really think of doing anything but becoming a teacher … Continue reading Building – and sustaining – innovation

We all want trees – now!

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” Chinese Proverb Whether we’re talking about climate change, the health system, education or environmental issues, a common refrain in much of the current rhetoric is the urgent need for action. This sense of urgency belies the fact that what needs to be done should have been started a long time ago, but by ignoring the signs, we’re now faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges in terms of the scale and complexity of the problems that lie before us – and our children. Consider the … Continue reading We all want trees – now!

Feet of Clay

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created the largest disruption of education systems in history… The crisis is exacerbating pre-existing education disparities by reducing the opportunities for many of the most vulnerable children, youth, and adults…. On the other hand, this crisis has stimulated innovation within the education sector”. UN Policy Brief August 2020 Many of us are familiar with the phrase ‘feet of clay’ – referring to a fundamental flaw or weakness in a person who may be otherwise revered. The phrase originates from the book of Daniel in the Bible where Daniel interprets a dream of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. In … Continue reading Feet of Clay

Give a S***!

I am in the habit of riding my bike along the local river trail as regularly as I can. It’s a shared trail that is used by other cyclists, walkers, runners and those walking their dogs – everyone appreciating the opportunity this great community asset provides. Cycling is one of those activities that provides me with thinking time. This morning my thoughts were on the many dogs I pass on this trail each time I ride it, the different types there are, and the different owners I observe. This morning I was reflecting on the inevitability of these animals taking … Continue reading Give a S***!