Activity 3: Critique and evaluate practice in the context of different audiences (local, national and/or international) and their perspectives.
During the Mindlab course I have been confronted with the trends that I had conveniently pushed to the back of my mind. You can avoid trends at a personal level in your life outside of work; however, teaching occupies a very “current” position as it deals with youth.
I have to look into the mirror each morning acknowledging the bags under my eyes and the wrinkles that spread like the rays of the rising sun from the corners of my eyes. Every day I see students flaunt their youthfulness and tight skinned faces, their carefree, mortgage free, unburdened existences. I deal with fidget spinners and know what dabbing is and have seen enough mufti days to know that fashion is circular. I am seeing kids glued to small screens, sitting in groups chatting digitally to one another and reacting like Pavlov’s dog to “dings” and “dongs” from their phones.
It could be easy to shake my head and slowly slide into the grumpy men’s corner of the staff room admiting defeat, no longer prepared to change and content to hold onto the past.
But that won’t happen, I will be approaching 60 when my youngest daughter finishes school, and she and her friends will hopefully keep me young in mind if not in body. So I have to care about our current world and trends and wonder what will be the world my daughters will inherit? What do they need to aim for and how can I as a teacher help in preparing them for this? A course like Mindlab is a step in the right direction to seek, reflect and focus on the world ahead rather than looking at our feet.
In Global Trends: the Paradox of Progress the rapid rate of change is highlighted and much of it doesn’t make for joyful reading. It highlights climate change, weak economic global growth, food and water insecurity, and rapid technology change that will lead to progress but also result in winners and losers and ultimately cause aggravation for some.
But there is hope and the report suggests those societies that will be successful will promote all members, and will include women and minorities to create and cooperate as a force to move with the current of change rather than against it. Working to instill the skills in our students so they can collaborate, be creative and be innovative and adapt to this changing landscape will be essential. Bringing our teachers, communities and parents on board for why we must embrace new thinking will equally be critical. A recent article in Stuff wrote of 34 parents from New Zealand’s oldest independent preparatory school in Christchurch who penned a letter to complain to the board about changes that departed from traditional education towards modern learning practices. To avoid this sort of division it is important that the goals of our school and community are shared so we can all move with the current of change in order to give our children the best possible chance of success!
In my introduction I mentioned the worry free existence of youth; however, recent findings tend to suggest otherwise. In a recent article in the Atlantic “Have Cellphones Destroyed a Generation?” Twenge who has researched generational differences for 25 years points to data that shows increasing feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression are strongly correlated to cellphone use/dependence/addiction.
The challenge is to blend this technology into our class, role model it appropriately, create opportunities to use the tools they love and find a middle ground where there well-being is nurtured and our kids feel connected, confident and resilient. I will be aiming to bring up two young women who will have the skills to be successful in these changing times.
Pepa and Zoe – the future of our planet, saviours of the Universe!
National Intelligence Council. (2017). Global trends: The Paradox of Progress. National Intelligence Council: US. Retrieved from https://www.dni.gov/files/images/globalTrends/documents/GT-Main-Report.pdf