October 21, 2010

[ #ediff #cpdqt #edchat ] Planning the "Jamie Approach" to education discourse: wholesale change through retail

Two education change events in Scotland, within six days, handling some of the core issues we face here, and elsewhere, to make learning relevant, compelling and delightful for our young people. Yet the people who really need to take part in the conversations, parents and classroom teachers, would have been either working or taking a well-earned vacation. Houston, we have a delivery problem. The customer happens to be out.

This is why I've started planning the "Jamie Approach" to educational change, an ode to that faux-cockney who's wowed TED (do watch the video, above, and save a child from diabetes or premature death), brought school dinners to their knees across the UK and has attempted to turn Huntington into the healthiest city in the US.

The challenge with any educational change discussion is that the space in which it operates defines who hears the message and takes part in the converation. I'm a fan of spaces, for digital work or physical environment building.

Where does this education change conversation already take place?

Secret spaces: Educational elites form and use both the secret space of bar-room chat, email and text message to work out what 'they' want out of the system.

Group spaces: Facebook groups, Classroom 2.0... all these group spaces have worked well for the past two or three years in harnessing those who are already bought into the change process.

Publishing spaces: for up to ten years many of us have been sharing our outlooks and ideas in the hope that someone will listen, primarily through our blogs and podcasts.

Participation spaces: other than the wiki, which presents a skills challenge, we've not really capitalised on markets, meetings or events not related to educational change to champion these conversations. Hmmm.... a potential opportunity.

Watching spaces: nowhere has managed to take the debate to the masses, other than the recent US examples of Waiting for Superman and NBC's Education Nation, which have been met with cries from the educational bourgeoisie of being an unfair representation of the profession etc etc etc... But it's still the best way to meet the masses - through the most popular of our glowing rectangles.

I want to take these conversations into the places where most 'real' people, that (I hate the term) "silent majority" who would like to be heard. And I think that common ground, the place we all inhabit at least once a week, is the supermarket.

I could be terribly wrong. I've been terribly wrong in the past. But this feels logical. After all, it's the place where my parents, teachers in a small town school for 30+ years, met most of the parents of their students, ironed out disputes, got feedback on their teacher, received pearls of wisdom on how to turn wee Johnny around. Why can't we consider going back to that village utility of the grocery store or supermarket as the common ground on which we discuss what really matters: how teachers teach, and how learners learn?

I want to see a nation who, weekly, meet at the frozen peas, the stack of bread or the cheese counter, and, through these social objects, start making happen these necessary changes we've all talked about for years.

So, Tesco, Asda Walmart, Sainsbury's... which one of you big boys wants to be responsible for changing the British education systems wholesale-through-retail?

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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