The key is to move in very small steps…
The Observer today (4 September 2011) asks How do we make our schools fit to face the 21st century? This is a massive question, then broken down into sub-set questions; and once again we learn the expert view is that the answer is, ‘incrementally’. How, asks Yvonne Roberts, can more schools to be imaginative, and teachers ‘liberated’. What’s the key to this sort of change?
The response from Guy Claxton of the Centre for Real World Learning is straightforward; it’s not ‘brand new structures’ and ‘glossy packages from the States’ which will do it:
The key is to move in very small steps…. You start with a conversation that builds a very clear vision which sits the development of life skills right at the centre of every conversation in the school, and then you knit that in lots of little ways.
So there we have it:
Ask a big question, break the big question down into smaller ones, and then take each response and make it into a small step towards sorting the whole out.
In this instance the advice seems very sensible, at least within the context given; but what about the process?
* Are ‘big questions’ the best way to start a debate? (Is it reasonable to say. e.g., that British schools are particularly ‘unfit for purpose’?)
* Can consensus be achieved about how big questions should be broken down into collections of smaller one?
* And how, in Claxton’s words, do (can? should?) you ‘knit’ the ensuing conversations together?