Looking for the possibility

Benjamin Zander of the Boston Philharmonic is ...
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I am, as those who read my blog regularly will know, a great fan of the TED Talks. However many of these talks I watch there is always one that comes along and moves me. Recently, I got a link from a Tweet (as usual) to a TED Talk from 2008 in Monterey by Benjamin Zander. The Talk was called “Classical Music With Shining Eyes“. It was an amazing talk. I was, like the audience that were privileged to see and experience the talk, swept away by Zander’s obvious love for his subject (classical music) and his hands on approach to delivering a lecture that quite often involved him in standing right in front of the front row of the audience and interacting directly with him.

This TED Talk has now been  added to my all time favourite TED Talks that was originally 10 talks and has since grown to (now) 13 (I am not superstitious!).

Having looked at this wonderful talk I then looked for other talks that Benjamin had on Youtube. I found a wonderful talk that he gave at the Davos Annual Meeting in 2008. This was simply wonderful. Here was a brilliant musician telling some of the world’s leading businessmen and women about how they should look at the world. He said that, at age 45 he came to a turning point in his life (his “Road to Damascus”). He realised that,as a conductor he was silent during any performance. His role though was to get the best out of others.

He then showed a diagram of a mess of lines that looked like a maze gone wrong and this he referred to as “the reality as people see it” the here and now of what is and what cannot ever be. On another chart though, that he walked over to, there was a central vision and from this everything was possible.

I thought about what he said in relation to the current education debate. The testing culture is about the “here and now” it denies possibility because it aims at quantifiable results but it lacks a vision and it denies possibility.

I was going to write a blog post about how I belong to a group of people who can see the future very clearly.. who know that education is about collaboration, creativity and dreaming new solutions not learning a narrow curriculum that will get us nowhere. Then I saw this video and Zander’s words made me see that I had to rethink my post. His simple idea is what it is all about.

I love the idea that he has that all students can be “A” students and that we must let them see their possibilities not tell them their inadequacies. Please watch the video below and you will see very clearly what I mean.


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