Pupils and Politics

Today I was extremely excited to be accompanying Dr. Amber Strong Makaiau to the 2014 High School Legislative Intern Program. It really was as stimulating as it sounds. It is a unique educational opportunity that allows pupils to have a hands-on learning experience in the legislative process. The experience gives pupils an understanding of how laws are made and the importance of participating in democracy.

The session started in the authentic P4C style complete with a community ball. The pupils were asked to share their personal view DSC_0621of the program so far. The response from the pupils was overwhelmingly positive and they clearly felt privileged to be a part of the program and were appreciative of the opportunity it gives them to be involved with legislation. In the words of one pupil “It changes your belief that the government is unapproachable”. I felt a real sense of commitment from this group as a community and it was inclusive of all participants. In many ways it represented the coming together of Hawaiian citizens. On more than one occasion pupils from neighbouring islands commented on the wonderful experience it gave them to be a part of this uniquely inclusive group of individuals. This for me signified yet again the importance of creating a ‘community’ which is so beloved to the Hawai’i model of P4C. The presence of teachers, department of education (DOE) representatives, pupils and the senator really helped to dissolve barriers which can and do exist even within democratic models of power.

The focus of the enquiry was rooted around a compelling question which guided the focus of the DSC_0623discourse today: Assessing the extent to which the Hawai’i State Legislature has sought to promote American values such as common good, equality of opportunity, and individual rights? The ultimate purpose of this exercise was to prepare the students for an upcoming submission which will culminate in a published article in a state newspaper. What a fantastic opportunity for these young people to be actively involved and engaged with their government and share their thoughts and opinions in a public arena! Dr Makaiau assumed the role of facilitator and helped the students to examine past editorials in order to scaffold support using strategies from The Good Thinker’s Toolkit such as using examples and evidence to supplement their claims. This could potentially have been a very dull session however; it was refreshing for me to see the approach she took to undertake this exercise. She didn’t just hand them examples and go through what they should and should not include in their submission. She opened up the floor to an enquiry model. This encouraged the pupils to critique the exemplars in a meaningful manner. In my opinion, it is a highly sophisticated approach, one which pushes the boundaries of conventional thinking and gives the community the opportunity to bring up poignant comments that perhaps even the adults had not thought of. This authentic approach gave way to one student expressing his personal view on ethical sensitivity and raising the questions: Should we be passing judgment on campaign strategy? Should we be sensitive to the views of others? How critical can and should we be? Is this fair to other constituents? This led to the development of an intriguing narrative amongst the group which raised a number of key points. The discussion that followed not only helped them seek points of clarification in preparation for the article but also gave them a much richer, deeper understanding of the privileged position they find themselves in. The chance to have their voices heard by those in power!

I left with a wealth of inspiration which has encouraged me to further explore the potential of tapping into the power of pupil voice DSC_0626through the use of P4C facilitation. What I witnessed today was so much more than a token gesture to show politicians and pupils working together. This is a genuinely organic process which deeply cares about actively educating these pupils about their civic rights and duties. It is building a bridge between the people in power today and the future generations in a way that is informative and exploratory. I almost wish I could have been one of the pupils in this cohort to benefit from this exceptional life opportunity. It has left me with a desire to ‘think big and dream big’. I feel empowered to propose that we should adopt a similar approach not only in a school context but branching out to liaison group clusters and county wide. After all, as educators we constantly talk about initiatives, schemes and programs that will benefit the pupils but would it not be far more beneficial to create pupil driven enquiries around these issues!

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A Personal Journey…

This is a post I have deliberately been delaying because it is a bone of contention for me and I’m not entirely sure I have the words to convey my thoughts in their entirety. I have spent endless hours debating the premise of assessing P4C and how best to do it. To be perfectly frank, I’m still not completely convinced one way or the other but as a strong advocate of P4C I can see that assessment has its value in showcasing the success of P4C.

So I’m going to start in typical Dr J style by telling you a personal story… From the very early days of becoming a P4C practitioner, I knew that this was a style of teaching that resonated completely with my own personal philosophy on what education should be. It fit me like a glove and the more I taught it the more infectious it became. I loved the shift in balance from teacher to pupils and watching them flourish as they took more and more control of their learning. It created a strong sense of community within the class and led to the generation of many ‘wow’,’ aha’ and ‘hmm’ moments. As a teacher, it gave me an immense sense of joy and contentment to see the pupils so engaged and enthralled by their learning journey – this was the reason I decided to become an educator and make a real difference to the lives of children and young people. Colleagues came to hear of this practice and over time more and more people began to come and observe my teaching of P4C. Before I make the next statement, it has to be said that my Head Teacher is the most supportive ally one could wish for. She has always held a well balanced view of education and is a great visionary who has been a staunch supporter of developing this approach. However, from a logistical perspective, we could both see why we needed to think about showing the ‘impact’ of P4C in a wider context. How could this be measured or assessed? What would that show us? What does progress within P4C look like?

These were incredibly difficult question fraught with a myriad of complexities. I found myself pondering how can I measure the process of thinking accurately? Just because a child may not be vocal in a session does that mean they are not engaged? How can I measure this effectively for the range of pupils in my class? To say there was an easy answer to any of these questions would be a huge understatement. I spent some time with a Specialist Literacy Consultant and a School Improvement Advisor trying to come up with a collaborative model which would help us to conduct assessment for learning (AfL). After examining various approaches and models, I came to the conclusion that trying to create a framework for assessing P4C was like subjecting it to a straightjacket. Part of the magic and wonder of P4C is that it is a multifaceted mesh of skills, attributes and dispositions. You can’t necessarily unpack individual strands of thought and analyse them against a metric. The components of P4C are complexly intertwined and bound together they create a holistic spectrum of learning in its many forms. For me witnessing the richness of dialogue is like the opening up of doors to allow you an insight into their depth and breadth of thinking.

Sitting here with Ben today, we are discussing my upcoming meeting with the P4C team at the academy and one of the items up for discussion on the agenda is assessment. Just talking Ben through my journey thus far has given me a chance to reflect and take stock. We have a shared approach towards genuinely wanting to promote the practice of P4C and in order to do this we are keen to develop an evidence base and the possibility of some type of assessment, as long as it does not infringe on the authentic characteristics of P4C. Although I have made some advancement with the use of floor books and strategic deployment of support staff in this context, it is an area I continue to battle. If there is anyone out there who is reading this blog with any thoughts please get in touch. I would love to hear from you …

 

Creating a culture of Philosophy

Philosophy for Teachers (P4T) – As soon as I heard about this initiative I instantly became excited. Regular P4T sessions are conducted in each model school and take place on a weekly basis. They follow the same process as a regular P4C session, in as much as, there is a strong emphasis on the ‘Pillars of Philosophy’: community, reflection, enquiry and philosophy itself. They were designed to offer teachers an additional support network and also give them an opportunity to develop their personal knowledge and understanding of Philosophy as a subject in its own right. The practitioners use these sessions to talk about their personal reflections as well as basing their enquiries on philosophical and educational texts and extracts. It has to be said that the UK teacher led approach to P4C is a global minority. Most if not all other P4C models are driven by people who have examined the study of Philosophy at doctoral level. This undoubtedly shifts the dynamic of teaching P4C but to what extent? I can personally make strong arguments for each approach but the ideal situation would be to have both. This is where the UH Uehiro Academy are incredibly fortunate to have practitioners like Dr Chad Miller and Dr Amber Strong Makaiau who are trained teachers and have doctorates in Philosophy. I too would like to join the ranks of these professionals by undertaking a PhD in Philosophy at some stage but that is another story in itself.

I can see, without a shadow of a doubt, the intense benefit of having the knowledge and understanding of somebody who is well versed in the study of Philosophy. I know from my personal study that the more information I have learnt and acquired, the more I have seen a growth in the sessions I lead. As Ben described it, being well versed in Philosophy gives you a metaphorical map which provides you with a greater insight into the various areas of enquiry you can explore and a richer understanding of the different philosophical lenses you can apply to view situations including epistemology, metaphysics, logic and ethics. However, in my opinion a person who has studied the intricacies of Philosophy is not necessarily going to make a good teacher. The act of teaching is an art in itself that needs to be studied and honed. Yes, being highly knowledgeable helps considerably but it cannot be taken as a given that it will lead to good teaching.

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This is why I am so impressed by the idea of ‘skilling up’ teachers through the use of P4T. Having observed a number of sessions taking place in different settings (Elementary – High School) has left me deeply inspired. I posed a simple question to each group of teachers: How do you benefit from P4C and P4T sessions? The response was overwhelmingly positive and I got a real sense of genuine commitment from all of these teachers who want to become better P4C practitioners. It is something they buy into and want to better for the sake of the children. This notion is ultimately cultivated from a well intended sense of moral duty! The P4C format has also been adopted by some schools to make faculty decisions because it provides a familiarly supportive environment which encourages critical and creative modes of thinking. Some teachers described it as a part of their school culture and sense of identity. They were also grateful for being given an opportunity to network with other colleagues and simply share their experiences. I feel this sense of peer to peer support cannot and should not be undervalued. They talked about having faith in the community and the intellectually safe atmosphere it provides them with to validate their own practice and garner new ideas from one another. The benefits of this approach also extended to dissolving barriers between pupils, departments and year groups and creating a holistic culture of empathy, understanding, sharing and open dialogue.

If I ruled the world…

It was back to Waikiki Elementary School today and I had a thoroughly enjoyable time revisiting two of the classes from last week. The novelty of the accent has started to wear thin and this meant we could dig a little deeper in the P4C sessions. I mentioned it in an earlier post but the focus of my observation today was the generation of questions without a stimulus! At first this practice struck me as unusual because it’s not a format I am personally used to working with. However, I can attest to the fact that it most certainly has its advantages and I would even go as far as to say that it creates a sense of liberation. The wide variety and range of questions has an instant level of genuine response from the community and therefore they commit to the discussion with a more focused authentic approach.

The only prompts they were given at the beginning of the session was a set of sentence starters to help them formulate the questions, should they wish to do so: Is it true, What are the reasons that, If then, What if, What do we mean by and Can I assume. One of the really impressive elements of this session was the fact that a pupil took the lead role in facilitating the entire selection process. It was second nature to her and she fulfilled the role effortlessly, her mindful approach reflected the school values and demonstrated that this practice was a regular feature of school life as opposed to something which had been put on for show.

The question that was selected by the group was if you could rule the world what would you do and why? The instant response to this question came from a boy who suggested that he would make the world a better place by putting a stop to crime. This is a theme which was revisited several times during the course of the discussion. The pupils then went onto questioning one another to probe for further reasoning and understanding: how would you make sure this happens? They thought of some unique ingenious ways of solving this problem which opened up a plethora of ethical and social issues. One girl stated that she would eradicate the ‘criminals’, the ‘bad’ people by sending them to space because she wouldn’t have the heart to kill them. To which another pupil pointed out that this would be just the same as killing them because they would be facing certain death in those conditions. The historical reference of criminals from England being sent away to far away places such as Australia was also mentioned and this helped to build another layer of discussion, one that was rooted in factual information. The fact that these individuals then went on to create their own ‘civilisation’ was also discussed and this was a ‘eureka’ moment for some pupils, who realised at this point, that perhaps things weren’t always as black and white as they seemed. Some pupils also voiced that they would ‘program’ the population to become good citizens. Although this comment was well intended, this response drew a sharp intake of breath from one particular pupil who seemed to be horrified by the idea that humans could be programmed like robots. What about their freedom of choice? He asked. After several minutes of reflection, he then went onto making an even more poignant remark ‘it would be like creating a system and there is no such thing as a perfect system. People would find ways to break it and then you would be no further forward then where you started off. Can people be truly happy without having the freedom of choice?’ Wow! What a thoughtful response! Prior to this proclamation, this child had sat there quietly for a period of twenty minutes or so without showing active signs of engagement but he had been following the conversation intently and was reflecting on his own thoughts by putting pieces of the puzzle together. This is one of the true joys of P4C and yet it cannot always be measured or put onto a chart but I won’t go too much into it, as that is another blog in itself.

Some children even took the standpoint that they wouldn’t want to rule the world because ‘you can’t please everyone all the time’ and for the fear of not being liked, they would give up this lofty position of power. Besides, some thought it would be living in vain as it is an unrealistic target ‘many have dedicated their lives to it and failed’ but does this mean we should stop trying and give up all hope?

It truly was a joy to witness such deeply profound thinking taking place and again left me feeling privileged to be a part of it. I came away from today with a sense of urgency and excitement to try out this technique in my own practice. Truth be told I believe both methods, with and without a stimulus, have their own respective merits and I look forward to using a wider variety of techniques.

The comparative role of the facilitator

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Having had the chance to shadow both Ben and Chad over the course of the past week, I have come to the realisation that there are some distinct differences with regards to the role of the facilitator within the P4C sessions.  I have personally struggled with an internal conflict of facilitator involvement for a number of reasons.  As anybody who knows me personally will know, I am hugely passionate about Philosophy and relish every opportunity I get to talk be it work, politics, fashion, current affairs or just a chinwag in general. So the two elements collectively provide an irresistible combination of dialogue for me to be lured into. As a practitioner working in particular with young children, I have often had to take a ‘dissociated’ position with regards to the content of the dialogue that is taking place. This can be a necessary action, especially if the children hold you in high regard and are influenced by your contribution. In the past I have been successful in becoming a fully-fledged member of the community with equal weighting, not an oracle like superior authority who holds all the answers. However, this position was only attained after subsequent skills had been taught and the growth of the community was at a certain level of maturity and understanding. I have also had the experience of assuming the position of ‘Devil’s advocate’ to open up the discourse and promote further dialogue.

Following my observations, it has been refreshing for me to see both Ben and Chad take a somewhat different approach. They both become ‘participants’ within the enquiry and this has been done at relatively early stages of community development. To my surprise, even when working with young children, the community aren’t seemingly influenced by the facilitators personal thoughts and feelings, in the sense that the children do not feel they need to necessarily be in agreement with the facilitator. When I discussed this further with Ben he highlighted the fact that equal emphasis is placed on the ‘community’ and ‘enquiry’ aspect of the sessions as opposed to some models which focus more heavily on the enquiry stage. It has become apparent to me that the role off the facilitator is not distinct from the community itself but it is an intrinsic component to model the role of a good participant. The modelling of this process must be rooted in genuine interest, engagement and commitment to the dialogue.

Having had the opportunity to be actively involved in a number of philosophical enquiries since I have been here has been one of the real highlights of the visit thus far. I believe one of the reasons I am so passionate about the subject is because I don’t tire of ‘wondering’. As far back as I can remember I have always had an innate sense of curiosity and inquisition which hasn’t dwindled with time. No matter how many times I sit in on enquiries I always feel a sense of contentment and growth. Being here has allowed me to hone my own skills and offer my own contributions to the community which are merely put out there as ‘suggestions’. The more I have actively participated in the sessions in this manner, the more confident I am becoming in applying the same practice to my own context. It has given me the faith to have courage in my convictions and embody the ‘we is bigger than me’ philosophy.

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The Art of Thinking

Meeting the locals and enjoying all that the splendid island of Oahu has to offer DSC_0391brought about the discussion ‘what do you do for work and what does that entail?’ I often get asked this question and it becomes all the more intriguing when I mention P4C. Some people logically reason that it is about teaching children about the great philosophers: Aristotle, Socrates, Plato and the like. For others it conjures up images of ‘sage’ like beings who constantly walk around in a state of bewilderment and wonder. And some are purely perplexed by this strange notion.

For me, as an educator, it makes absolute perfect sense to dedicate time to the art of teaching children how to think. We spend hours, months, years teaching children how to read and write yet the same attention and time is not typically allocated for thinking. It is often assumed that thinking ‘just is’ we do it all the time without even being consciously aware of it so why do we need to ‘teach’ it? I use the term ‘teach’ loosely because in reality I believe as P4C practitioners, we facilitate the discussion rather than the traditional method of ‘teaching’. Well, I would argue that just as artists refine their brush strokes, architects plan their designs carefully and authors rewrite their scripts numerous times, the process of thinking is one that needs to be practised over and over again.

The vehicle of P4C allows us to create a thinking culture which promotes individual thought as well as collective thinking as part of a group. This is where ‘intellectual safety’ comes into play. Since being in Hawai’i I have heard this phrase being used on a countless number of occasions by teachers and pupils alike. However, it wasn’t until I met the highly regarded Dr Jackson today that I really began to understand the significance of this concept. Dr Jackson was kind enough to let me sit in on one of his P4C seminars at the university,  made up of a combination of educators, undergraduate and graduate students from different disciplines and all walks of life. In preparation for his upcoming TEDx talk, he gave us a sneak preview of his speech and allowed the community to conduct an ‘enquiry’ about it. Here was a highly acclaimed professor giving his students free reign to critique his work. They could tear it to shreds, construct and deconstruct as they desired… but they didn’t. Yes, they suggested many changes that could be made and there were differences in opinion amongst the group but it was all done within the parameters of an ‘intellectually safe’ environment. That is when it hit me here was a prime example of learning taking place in an ‘intellectually safe’ community. Too often in classrooms there is a sense of fear and anxiety to say the right thing and get the correct answer, the one the teacher is looking for. What Dr Jackson has successfully created here is a space which eliminates the sense of fear and creates an environment which is conducive to freedom of thought. It gives people the chance to tap into their inquisitions and wonderings and have the courage to discuss them without fear of being judged by their peers or indeed by him. It creates a sense of openness that cultivates a strong connection within the community which allows people to appreciate each other’s opinions in a respectful manner and make way for alterity.

P4C is so much more than sitting in a circle and talking about randomly controlled topics. If we can provide students with an ‘intellectually safe’ environment, we will be giving them a treasured gift, a life skill which will undoubtedly hold them in good stead.  The art of thinking isn’t one to be reserved for the shelves of a dusty philosophy shelf but we are in dire need of it as a global community. You only need to look at the number of people being diagnosed with depression and other associated mental health issues. As idealistic and naive as this sounds, I believe through the use of P4C approaches, we can preventatively remedy some of these problems by educating the next generation to deepen the quality of their thinking. I will leave you with a message that I believe is as pertinent today as when it was written:

‘All which school can or need do for pupils, so far as their minds are concerned … is to develop their ability to think’’

John Dewey (1916)   

Leadership, Lies and Limitations

Today I had the pleasure of visiting Waimanalo Elementary and Intermediate School, nestled in the breath taking Windward location of Oahu. The cohort of pupils is made up of a diverse range of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. The day to day reality of life for some of these pupils is a world away from the existence of the pupils I left behind in Buckinghamshire.

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I was invited to attend a leadership class, an elective module the pupils have to be recommended for by at least three of their teachers. I was inspired by the ideology behind this module which sought to distinguish this group of pupils from other ‘school council’ type initiatives by placing the philosophical enquiry model at the heart of all their discussions and decision making processes. From the very first moments of the session, I could feel a sense of belonging and unity from this community or as one of the pupils suggested “We function as a unit, a family. We have different opinions but we work together to think outside the box and get things done”.

The pupils then proceeded to airing their questions with a live voting system in place. The first question to be given at least twelve votes was to be the basis of the enquiry. They presented a range of interesting and thoughtful questions: Why do people get freaked out by love? Why is it hard to trust people? Why is it so hard to say goodbye? Why do we have to lie in order to get the truth?

The question that was ultimately selected was: How do you show someone the truth, if everything they believe in is lies? What was to follow for the next forty minutes or so was an unprecedented level of deep philosophical thinking. The pupils discussed the relative concept of ‘truth’. If you live with a lie long enough does it become the truth?  You think about the truth in your mind, so how do we escape our own mind? The discussion touched on aspect of reality and the possibility that what we are currently experiencing is not our actual reality. This undoubtedly evoked spiritual and religious responses from other members of the community and the possible representation of a ‘lie’ as a vehicle for good/just outcomes. This was illustrated with the example of affirmations and some aspects of positive thinking that can lead to a shift in habits and attitudes. This train of thought sparked a deeper level of enquiry that focused on the limitless potential of our minds and before we could explore the endless possibilities this could bring, the session was over. I don’t feel I can even come close to doing any justice to the session by summarising a few vague points. For me philosophical enquiry is a process that has to be experienced, to be felt, to be lived. Words alone cannot depict the true nature of this solicitous experience. There were many moments in the enquiry that I found myself completely immersed in the wonderment of discussion.  I was genuinely so enthused and encapsulated by the enquiry that I found I had to discipline myself to take notes, otherwise, I was at risk of being completely swept away and lacking sufficient evidence to write this blog.

I left feeling privileged to be a part of the experience and on some level I felt it was a ‘spiritual’ experience which allowed me to connect to these individuals on ‘higher ground’ because we were sharing the process of thinking collectively, as one unit.  I couldn’t help but think here are a group of youngsters who have just demonstrated the power of working effectively as a diverse community. It didn’t matter that they didn’t agree, had different opinions, belonged to different ethnic backgrounds, they were able to put those aside and allow the oneness of the community to prevail. They executed this process like a well-oiled machine; no fuss, no fights, no drama. They demonstrated the true potential of individuals working together to lead the way. If only more people could follow their shining example.

The nature of children

Today I had the opportunity to shadow Dr Ben at Waikiki Elementary School. Aside from the unusual start to the day, when I came to the rescue of a tablet computer being tossed out of a car at high speed, I was struck by the parallel nature of children.  Yes, the curriculum they were being taught was different, the behaviour management techniques were different and the style of teaching was different BUT essentially the fundamental nature of children remained the same.

We started in a 1st grade class (6-7 year olds) and the children began by introducing themselves and telling the class what they had done over the spring break. They then went onto airing a total of eleven questions, mostly made up of ‘what if …’ questions. It was interesting to note that they didn’t focus their enquiry on a particular stimulus but rather allowed the children to generate their own questions. The breadth of questions ranged from: What if girls didn’t exist in the future? To What if the world was made out of pizza? The class were quite taken with this idea and then proceeded to become fixated with the idea of pizza ‘What if it rained pizza slices?’ The enthusiasm for this idea, through the eyes of a six year old, made me smile because they are enthused by the concept of limitless imagination. They aren’t as restricted by societal norms and their mind set is not as constricted by inhibitions that we begin to adopt as we grow and develop. I could relate this enquiry to experiences I have had myself with children of a similar age and in actual fact, it did not matter if our approaches were different, the content of the dialogue remained comparable.

After recess we went into a 5th grade class (10-11 year olds). I spent the first twenty minutes or so earth_treeanswering their questions about life in England. They were genuinely intrigued and wanted to know more about this ‘foreign, exotic land’. The quote that will always stay with me, was from a young girl who asked ‘Is that your real voice?’ which drew fits of laughter from her peers. She had never heard anybody speak in an English accent before, apart from ‘High School Musical’. What was interesting to note was the similarity of the response I got from my own children when I told them I was visiting Hawaii. They wanted to know what language they spoke, what food they ate, what school life was like. This observation affirmed my desire to also develop a school linking project which will ultimately allow us to conduct parallel philosophical enquiries. It will also give us the scope to develop our understanding about cultural and local influences in the development of children’s thinking and meta-cognitive processes.

Observing the 6th grade class (12 year olds) was an eye opening experience. Being based in an infant school, it was encouraging for me to see the development of their philosophical skills by the age of twelve. The children started the session by recording their own questions that were then to be voted on by everyone in the class. Three questions in particular stood out to me:

  1.  What are your thoughts on the quote ‘Death solves all problems, no man – no problem’?
  2. Why do parents/people in general do things they know they will regret?
  3. John Green once said ‘That’s the thing about pain, it demands to be felt?’ Do you agree with this?

The themes that emerged from these questions wrestled with the concepts of: humanity, freedom, justice, equality, emotions and such like. It made me contemplate the idea of these universal melodies and question, if children are fundamentally similar in nature, does the same hold true in adults? If not, then what changes, events and experiences occur to make us so different? If indeed we can be defined as different.

Asking the BIG questions!

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It’s hard to believe that what started as a 2am web search on the development of Philosophy for Children (P4C) over a year and a half ago, has now actually turned into a five week research project. After endless emails, panel interviews and a 36 hour flight, I am finally here at the University of Manoa to meet the team of P4C experts.

The moment I met Ben (Dr Benjamin Lukey as he is officially known) we spent a significant amount of time not only talking about P4C but discussing the big fundamental questions surrounding education: Are we schooling children or educating them? What is the difference? What is our moral duty as educators? And rightly or wrongly, the intrinsically interwoven relationship that exists between politics and education.

What struck me most about this discussion was the desperate need for educators on all levels to return to the most basic of concepts: What is the purpose of education? Is it to produce high attaining students who can regurgitate taught facts? Or is it to produce well rounded citizens who can make a positive contribution to society?

We acknowledge the importance of governance and accountability however, we both shared experiences of working alongside good/outstanding teachers who have been hindered by the constant  pressures of filling in a hundred different forms and constantly evidencing progress. Progress in my humble opinion, does not always follow a neatly formed curve, with incremental steps but it peaks and troughs like the terrains of a mountain.  Learning is a messy process that can feel ‘dark’ and ‘confusing’ but it is in those moments that we learn to challenge ourselves and enjoy the quest of learning.

By the end of day one I don’t think we got any closer to finding the answers to these thought provoking questions but what it did produce is a richness of dialogue. It is not often that I get the time to reflect and contemplate on my practice and I found it to be an enlightening experience to share those thoughts with a like minded individual. It will be interesting to see if we can advance towards answering some of those questions by the end of the visit.