Sir Michael Barber’s presented four metaphors for education at the Teachfirst conference on the 13th of November.
Can you guess what they represented? (answers are at the bottom)
1. Piglet, Poo and the Spinney Tree:
Round and round Poo and Piglet go chasing the Woozle that continues to escape them, until, eventually, they look up and see Christopher Robin
2. The development of the bicycle:
For about 100 years, the bicycle went through radical change- a Penny Farthing was a nightmare to ride, but not long after, a bike emerged that looked much like what we ride today. Looking at a bike from 20 years ago, it looks much the same… but it’s very different to when you ride it.
3. Awe Inspiring Places of Worship:
Looking at Durham Cathedral and the Cordoba Mesquita there is something very perfect about these works of creative genius that seem so perfect.
4. A Christmas Shopping expedition which got out of hand: (leading to the purchase of a book by George Smoot about Dark Matter)
The book argues that 90% of the universe is dark matter “which may not observe the laws of physics”.
… answers below:
1. For decades education policy and improvement went round and round and circles without getting anywhere until the last 10 years when we looked up, saw real evidence, and understood how to move forward and progress.
2. In the last 20 years, major visible changes may not have been made but small details have been transformed, making a real difference.
3. We spend too much time worrying about false dichotomies: skills v. knowledge, control v. freedom and creativity v. precision. The most awe inspiring creations marry these- a Cathedral is the perfect expression of both creativity and precision.
4. 90% of the education universe isn’t covered by the syllabus – between 1988 and 1998 there were 10 years of unrelenting reform but 90% of education is what happens in the classroom; teachers control this. We need to focus on teachers cracking the unwritten rules of dark matter.
Let’s finish off with a great little story:
Charlie Brown bets his friends that by Friday he can teach Snoopy to sing.
On Friday they try him out.
Snoopy can’t sing. Charlie’s friends ask for their money back. Charlie Brown refuses: “I taught him, he just didn’t learn,” he argues…
As Dylan William says, for years, education functioned as a talent refinery- finding talent and letting it rise to the top.
Education now needs to create talent. It’s not enough to say we’ve done our job of teaching – we need ensure there’s learning.
Have you got any of your own metaphors for education? Leave your ideas as comments or tweet them to @LKMco #metaphors4education