Keeping the belief going

This morning I did my usual trawl of e-mails and notices on Facebook as well as a quick scan of Twitter. I got the latest news (Egypt is still important and ridiculous football transfer fees has also risen to the top of public interest). The things that got my attention though was a blog post in one of my favourite sites “Teach Paperless” which was entitled “Philosophy of Learning” which was by a guest blogger Mike Kaechele and an article called “The Electorate Didn’t Sign Up To Cuts Like These” which was (in my opinion) a really brave article slamming our Coalition Government and the vicious cuts that they say will save our democracy but which many believe will widen the gap between the rich and poor, effect the poor the most and probably get us into a double-dip recession.

These two, very different, articles, made me think about an important issue. That we must have our beliefs and that we must stick with them through the bad times as well as the good.

These are tough times in education, the cuts have hit there too, there is widespread calls for a return to some golden age of the past where supposedly everybody learnt the basic skills and everything was alright with the world. With this as a background it is so refreshing to read Mike Kaechele’s views on what he believes learning to be. As I read this I thought that he had spoken for me and for those of us who believe that schools need to change and that what we present to kids as “education” is not right, is letting them down and ultimately affecting all our futures.

In the post he stated:

“I believe learning should be assessed informally and formally with formative assessments not just high stakes tests at the end.
I believe that all students can learn, but that curiosity and motivation has been driven out of many of them by the boredom of how we “do school.”
I believe the reward for learning is personal satisfaction and enjoyment, not a letter grade.”
I was very impressed to read these statements. Here is a person who is stating loud and clear in a country (the U.S.A.) where there are many who want to test their kids to death and fire the teachers that do not get them up to “top grades” that there is another way and he believes in this other way.
The second article about our cuts is also about belief. I agreed totally with the writer who stated that we are becoming a crueller more separated society, that our Government is taking us away from the “Great Society” that they talked about and into a world of social division and public squalor.
There are many out there who disagree with me on education and the wider political environment. At the heart of these issues is a matter of belief. The strength of beliefs is how much you are willing to fight for them and tough times can change or destroy your beliefs….. but they can also strengthen them.
The key statement should always be…. THIS IS WHERE I STAND…. THIS IS MY BELIEF.

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