💬 Detractors from Afar

Replied to Detractors from afar by gregmiller68 (gregmiller68.com)

Over the last few weeks St Luke’s Marsden Park found itself in the news more than usual. That can be partly explained by our appearance on ABC’s 7:30, a television program with a national profile. Overall, the story portrayed St Luke’s in a positive light; however, the assertions by Jennifer Buckingham from the Centre of Independent Studies  that, “the approach taken at St Luke’s really is an experiment” and, “there is a great risk that this experiment will fail”, could not be left unchallenged.

This is a great reflection on the journey that you have started at St Luke’s. I think that it fits with the idea of change through encouragement, rather than revolution. To me it fits with the model of change being pushed by groups like Agile Schools, where bit by bit education is progressively transformed. Is this an experiment? Maybe, but the question I have is what support and structures are put in place to support such changes. I think where things becomes undone is where we think it is just one thing that will make all the difference. I recently read The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb and have been left with the reality that all we can do is inoculate ourselves against the treat of the unexpected result by spreading our investments, rather than betting on a unicorn. I wonder if this is a part of what Gert Biesta describes as the beautiful risk of education.

Having said all this, I was also left wondering (and worrying) as to what detractors wish as an outcome by making the case about experimenting in school? Does Jennifer expect you to stop everything you are doing and pivot to what someone else is doing? In some ways this reminds me of the uproar involving Johanna O’Farrell from a few years ago. Although tribes are good at building a sense of community, there are times I wonder if they really evolve the conversation? I think that this is the problem that groups like Team Human and #ProSocialWeb are trying to grapple with.

4 responses on “💬 Detractors from Afar”

  1. This is a really perceptive (profound even) observation. I wish I’d thought of it! I was once leading an innovation project in lots of schools in the UK. A former Secretary of State for Education confronted me: “Oh, so you’re using these kids as guinea pigs, are you?” I tactfully pointed out that these were kids who had been let down by the existing system. How are we ever going to change if we don’t follow Jefferson’s advice (“Above all, try something”)

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