I have been thinking about the gravity of facts and the liquidity of fiction.
How little of our lives is governed in fact?
What percentage of human disasters are down to natural catastrophes?
What percentage of human disasters are down to the dreams of others?
A family is wiped out by greed.
"Affaire Troadec: il a tué toute une famille à cause d'un héritage."
A whole people is wiped out by fiction.
"The Protocols of the Elders of Zion."
An election is lost and won by a faction because of facts or because of fiction?
A referendum is lost and won by a faction because of facts or because of fiction?
What do facts matter if the beliefs of those in power deny your right to exist?
The "facts" that matter to you or those experiences which you consider to be "facts" will surely be determined by your beliefs.
“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
― Albert Einstein
A classroom preface.
I looked at the notes for the class, they had spent the week before learning about learning styles...
"All you need to know about 'the learning style myth' in two minutes."
I was sitting in the classroom last week with ten other teachers.
Six of them were sitting with me in a room in France, four of them were sitting in rooms in Finland, The USA, The UK and Poland.
What brought us together was a class and common interest in education.
What brought us together was friendship, curiosity and a desire to learn.
What brought us together were questions.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”Albert Einstein
We were able to connect because of a smartphone and a Google hangout.
The phone was passed around the space so that the teachers in France could speak either individually or as a group with the distant teachers.
During the discussions, one common experience emerged - that of measurement.
Academic life in the measured university: pleasures, paradoxes and politics via @prinsloo https://t.co/2QVrU30br1— Simon Ensor (@sensor63) March 10, 2017
We spoke of PISA, we spoke of "publish or perish".
Surely this obsession with "measurement" is grounded in belief, which if we decide so, has little to do with education, perhaps a lot with "discipline" and "standards".
Surely the question we must ask is "whose standards are we attempting to satisfy"?
Surely the role of education is to demonstrate the weight of liquid in what appears to be solid.
As recent events in global stockmarkets have shown, economics is based on volatile liquidity.
Rereading from May 2016: You’re witnessing the death of neoliberalism – from within | Aditya Chakrabortty https://t.co/IFReqH6jS0— Simon Ensor (@sensor63) March 8, 2017
Experts, always sound so "solid" and reliable until they are proved not to be.
Bernie Madoff 's 50 Billion Dollar Ponzi Scheme.
When we talk of a "bottom line", it is perhaps an "economic reality" but therein lies the reality of power and a dominant ideology and the many lies which hide the manner of exploitation.
One of the teachers, Terry Elliott from Kentucky, talked of "unschooling" his kids which was, he termed "radical".
This fact was greeted by surprise and by interest by the other teachers present.
When I hear my kids talking of school in terms of incarceration, I wonder how crazy I am to send them there.
We spoke of the "Finnish miracle" with Maritta Riekki in Finland and learnt how "miracles" are sold.
The French teachers were particularly interested to get a first hand opinion of how Finnish education worked, as they had been sold the need to become more like the Finnish by the powers that be.
Often Maritta said, "less is more," the most important part of education is not facts but getting kids ot ask question and to think for themselves.
Many facts that we appear to be stuck with at the moment are the result of obsolete dreams.
There are those who will always hark back to a better time in the past and promise to take us there.
There have always been those with terrifying dreams.
There are those who will happily supply the means to achieve those dreams.
What we need are new dreams.Nestle Chairman on why clean water isn't a basic human right pic.twitter.com/M5UasbOehG— Belinda Barnet (@manjusrii) March 11, 2017
Thought for day pic.twitter.com/oyOVcrWRyz— Simon Ensor (@sensor63) March 8, 2017
A new narrative for a complex age | OECD Insights Blog https://t.co/Zj0qOM3y1I— Simon Ensor (@sensor63) March 8, 2017
Education must not be about plying facts of the few, it must be about enabling new dreams for all.
Image: Trump as Gargoyle.