29 September 2016

1 Big Takeaway from #LEC2016

I tend to operate at the margins of learning at the school I work in. It can be a lonely feeling. You can feel like a boat against the current, back borne into the past. Believing in that orgastic future...

But I need to believe that this future of education isn't one that year by year recedes before us, always to be eluded.

. . . 

I am not alone.

That is my big takeaway from a recent conference I went to—Lincoln Educator's Conference 2016—hosted by Escuelas Lincoln in Buenos Aires, AR. That I am not alone in believing in a different future for education, one that is rooted in figuring out what learning is first, and not one rooted primarily in the traditions of compliance and conformity (cf Ken Robinson). 

. . . 

This is the first conference I went where I felt more like a presenter than an attendee. LEC2016 was committed to re-igniting education. There were over 40 presenters and over 250 attendees from Argentina and Uruguay. I was asked to give a workshop and be part of the Keynote Slam. I gave two workshops on How Space Structures Learning (materials here). My keynote touched on a theme that I had been thinking about for quite a while, something I call The Logic of Learning. I also attended a few very good workshops from other educators. 

How do I know I am not alone?

Every time I engaged with educators I got into thought provoking, instigating, alliance building, and sometimes the "You're a radical!" or "You just blew my mind" or "I'm going to do so many things different" conversations. All of these conversations focused on something that seems fundamental to me yet exceedingly difficult to realize in our modern school: returning to the basics of human-centered learning. 

We are so often overwhelmed by the noise of complexity we've designed into the system; looking to document and check off boxes because we believe we need to prove the "mechanizations" of school. We do this at the expense of allowing teachers to embrace the messiness inherent in the simplicity of learning; to be learners themselves, and be empowered to try new things, to experiment, to create cultures of cooperative, fun learning experiences. 

How do I know I am not alone? 

Because I saw the vast majority of the crowd nodding their heads and listening during my keynote. 

Because more than a handful of people sought me out afterwards to connect, and stay in contact. 

Because the first question I was asked after my keynote, which merely introduced the idea of balancing out the simple proposition of if teaching, then learning to include more focus on the antecedents to deep learning, was an excited yet surprised "are you doing this at your school?!" 

No, we are not. But I am. And so are a few others. Usually in spite of the system, not because of it.

And here's the thing. So can you. You are not alone.

. . . 

How do we re-ignite learning? One option. 


6. to resist or rise against some authority, control, or tradition.

Eschew tradition. Find the fringes. Defend your choices. Do "what would you do right now if you could do whatever you wanted to."

And know.

You are not alone.