4 Comments

  1. Hi Phil,
    Thanks for sharing! I saw Sir Ken speak a few years ago and it’s interesting to see how his ideas have developed. I like what he has to say; he’s such an engaging speaker. I wonder why he’s ‘making the rounds’ and speaking across Canada? Regardless, it’s wonderful to have such a well respected person getting that particular message out!

  2. Thanks for posting this reflection. I too love the agricultural metaphor. It sounds to me like what he is saying (and what you may be struggling with) is the vision of “controlled chaos.” We know we need to tend to some things, we know we need goals, we know we need direction, but how to do that while also fostering creativity and maybe some craziness?

    If we continue the metaphor, perhaps we can think of that as… how gardeners use trellises, spikes, support, and more to guide their creations into “place.” Don’t forget they also prune regularly, ensuring that removal of what’s dead and gone can make space for new growth and beauty.

    Maybe that metaphor works, maybe it doesn’t… but I do like where you’re going with the idea of the agricultural model of education. I’m looking forward to hearing more. Thanks again for sharing! 🙂

  3. Eddie de Beer

    Great posting Phil! I am most impressed how accurately you could capture the essence of Sir Ken’s presentation with your iTouch … clearly some creative keyboarding skills that I am still to replicate on my Blackberry! Back to your point … the tension between ‘school’ and the organic nature of learning.
    My take on it is that we are still going about this in the wrong way – we still seem to be taking curriculum (preconceived and essentially non-organic) and trying to super-impose essential skills and creativity. In order for the ‘agricultural’ model to occur, I took Sir Ken’s message to indicate that, in essence, we need only but prepare the environment in which learning can flourish, and then inspire and guide students to pursue their passions through creative processes of discovery.
    More than ever, I believe that curriculum needs to be secondary, and that assessment needs to for learning (not ‘of’, or even worse, ‘to prove’). Only then can it be truly authentic. I agree that structure and clear learning outcomes are essential to achieve the ultimate goals of education but, more and more, I find myself starting to define those outcomes in terms of the students’ aptitude for learning, and ‘structure’ to reflect the executive skills we need to acquire in a natural learning environment (Sir Ken refers to this as “human capacity”, occurring in students’ “natural learning environment”; essentially free of pre-determined notions of ‘age’, ‘time’ and ‘space’).
    While I can see us changing the nature of our schools somewhat to facilitate organic learning (e.g. differentiated approaches to learning, creative scheduling, use of technology, etc.), my dilemma is making sense of the IB curricular outcomes within this landscape – reminds of a great podcast you once directed me to which addressed the question on whether the IB can be shifted (http://www.sospodcast.org/2009/12/03/episode-29/). Right now, unfortunately I don’t think the organisation really wants to; and therefore will find it very difficult to co-exist in Sir Ken’s organic universe.
    Phil, I am also hoping for the skills articulation you reference above. Maybe we can get a group together to begin to chart some thoughts … now wouldn’t that be a great process to be involved in!

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