Friday, 11 December 2009

Great Schools - Global Context

The BCSE (British Council for Schools Environments) Annual Lecture took place this week - I was fortunate to be able to attend.

The main speaker, Michael Stevenson, Vice President - Global Education, Cisco really went through what was happening all over the world, but especially in the context of, schools (and countries) in challenging circumstances, be it India, Mexico, New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina etc... Clearly the impact of ICT plays a really important role and gives lots of opportunities, but not if we are just going to use it to keep doing the same thing.
The key message from Michael was that we have to be radical and really 'do education' differently. We just love tinkering around at the edges - and often, though we have ideas, we don't then resource them adequately. BSF should be fab but not if we just do the same old thing inside new spaces with the same old restrictions.
The bottom line though, is that there very few people who have any idea how to be really brave that are in the right positions to be able to implement anything. Bravery for radical new approaches to education, on a national scale is unlikely to be honest. Therefore those staff who are doing really good things quietly in their own schools are a really important messenger and maybe they are the only real brave ones who are actually doing something....
The panel and audience discussion that followed was really interesting with views ranging from:
  • developing new pedagogies,
  • not enough CPD for teachers, many of whom would adopt new ideas if they were supported and given time to understand, train and implement them (have I heard that before somewhere?)
  • current change potentially not considering the 'soul' and spirituality of communities and cultures
  • the impact of the economy and forthcoming General Election
  • feeling terrified at not understanding what we mean by 21st century or transformational education
Good conversations, challenging thoughts, enjoyable evening and good networking opportunites - excellent!
(Whilst the venue was lovely, not sure about sitting on those benches for too long though.... I could start a conversation about FF&E... but I won't!.)
The Panel from l-r: Ty Goddard, (Director BCSE), Tom Weaver (DEGW/Davis Langdon), Tim Nash (Edison Learning), Sarah Richardson (Building Magazine), Michal Cohen (Walter and Cohen)

No comments: