Driving through the city I spied a business with its name sprawled across the shop front, “Elder Scaffolding”.
For the rest of the journey all I could image were old people standing around supporting by scaffolding to hold up the wobbly bits!
Last week, I attended a Teacher Librarian’s Conference at which Professor Erica McWilliam, scholar in the field of pedagogical innovation and creative industries at QUT in Brisbane, was a key note speaker. Whether you are a teacher, a librarian or a parent, I think it is important to heed what she said. These are my notes:
Professor Erica McWilliam , based much of her presentation on the theme explored in Tyler Cowen’s text; “What if Average if Over?”.
The premise of Prof William’s thesis was that no longer is coming from a “good home” with “good parents”, and going to a “good school” and getting “good results” before going to a “good university” enough to insure a “good job”. Or a “good life”. Our “A graders” may no longer go to university, and if they do certainly not for an undergraduate degree. These students, a small creative, cognitive elite, will go straight into specialized roles with the economy maybe accessing university at master’s levels when they may be sought out by the universities rather than they asking to go to that university.
What we term as our “B grade” students may be the only one going directly from high school to university, but there will be no notion of a “career” as we know it.
All learners need to be smart editors of our information overloaded world!
Teachers and Librarians need to equip learners with the skills to obtain the signal from the noise (signal and noise as in communication theory). Learners need the ability to make smart judgments.
The creative, cognitive elite with these skills will be dynamic and agile, enabling them to add value to high-end services. Low-end services, which may even mean teachers and lawyers in some fields may find their roles outsourced globally. Individuals can no longer stagnant as employment will be short term, contract and project driven – the data shows this already.
For example, if a student wants to be a lawyer, for which there is an oversupply already, they should specialize in a high end, personal areas such as divorce law. There are hundreds of students undertaking journalism degrees for which there are no longer jobs. They should be publishing online before they leave high school. Students should be positioning themselves as a brand, and using tools such as LinkedIn.
Learners need to be creative and be able to enter the so-called “third space”. They need to enter that space we didn’t actually know was there, with unanticipated ideas. More than thinking outside the box! A little like thinking to add a fish gene in a tomato. (my note!)
The comment was made that once computers learn to fix other computers that level of IT technicians will also be redundant.
To be employable our learners will need to perform without requiring management. They cannot be needy for praise! They must be able to add value to computerized processes. Whatever they do, they must be able to do it extremely well.
Teachers can no longer teach learners what they need to know.
2. What will wellbeing mean?
Educational wellbeing: not just going to university; not just academic success.
The role of teachers and librarians is to assist in personalized learning for self-improvement, for learners will be self-selecting their learning. This is outside of mandated learning.
Historically, there have been scientifically educated artisan classes and a new breed of inventors would arise from within. However, specialization and IT have meant that we are becoming more ignorant… but our learners need to be “usefully ignorant”! They will need to value add specialization.
Libraries have the position for self-directed learning and educational well-being. Libraries need to be different to the classroom.
Article to read “ No child left untableted” New York Times.
If you were one of the people following my Creative Habits blog, I have been forced by the need to seek a work life balance to moth ball it for the short term. The creativity continues here however.
I am a humble person. No, honestly, I am. Well, I try to be… but…
At the conference, the international presenter asked the audience “What does prototype mean to you?” The old me of a few years ago, would have thought of an answer, but never say anything, and then experience regret. This time I spoke loud and clear.
“Learning to live with failure.”
The presenter stopped walking across the stage, “Oh good one, maybe you should join me up here!”
I basked in my fifteen seconds of fame.
I crept into Petite Fille’s room as she awoke from her afternoon nap. I had stopped by the bookshop after the conference and purchased her a lift the flap book with dinosaurs. I knew she would love it.
Hiding the book behind my back, I enticed her “What if Grandma had a surprise for you, behind her back? What surprise do you think Grandma might have for Petite Fille?”
Her excitement was palpable. She whispered her answer, expectation shinning in her eyes. “A little man wearing a party hat!”
Well, I guess I can take solace in the fact that Petite Fille has great imagination…
A couple of weeks ago, we were gifted with a night star in which shone two Stars of Bethlehem, something which, I read, hasn’t happened for two thousand years.
That night Petite Fille and her Daddy went out onto our country lawn to look at the stars. We weren’t sure, if at two years of age she really understood, but she enjoyed the moment and that was the important thing.
A couple of nights later, back at their house in the city, Petite Fille and I were home alone. I was in the kitchen making our dinner, when Petite Fille, stood at the french doors, trying to see the stars. Sadly, it was a cloudy night, and the illumination of the city lights made it near impossible to see anything.
Small moments linger on, and I am so lucky that I have this wonderful child in my life. Blessed.
Waiting for the other shoe to drop is a rather anxious occupation. First, there was the abundance of compliments showered upon me, since returning to school this term. Then, I return to find that I have been removed from teaching a subject I did not enjoy teaching. I had been asking since this time last year to no avail, and then bang, my dream comes true.
I was rewarded with a subject I find more interesting, and allows me to use my english and history subject knowledge. This has been followed by a very light substitute cover timetable, In fact, so far I have been given only one double period to supervise for an absent colleague, and that was in the library.
There is no doubt that a pound of flesh will be extracted at some time, for it is my personal experience that these types of occurrences do not happen in my life. Well, if they do, not in this quantity and never this close together!
I sound rather fatalistic, but it is like people dying in threes.You don’t believe me? Just pay attention next time a famous person dies, there will be a total of three, within days, who will die. I always imagine them being really pissed off that someone else died and stole their publicity! Good is usually dissolved by bad, a bit like osmosis.
Possibly, this is why religion has flourished – to hedge our bets against the inevitable evils that befall us.
No doubt many of you will advise me to “have positive thoughts”. Not working; for nothing has ever come easily in my life. Other people can pop out for a coffee and receive a job offer. Me? I have to go through three rounds of interviews, be rejected, then fight for reconsideration and maybe, just maybe, slip in the side door. Not an exaggeration. Those who followed me through the last five years will attest to my reality.
Not that I am not enjoying the “good times”. I am very, very grateful. Why I am almost enthusiastic when my alarms sounds at 5am each weekday. Almost. I have to be honest, my ambition now is to retire sometime before I am committed to Sunny Lanes Retirement Home.
I just hope my luck holds until the end of the week. Tomorrow should be a non teaching day, so that I can work in the library all day. Friday I am off to the city for a Teacher Librarian’s conference. I love TL conferences, I always come away with at least one idea or thought or creative project. These things are what you make of them, though I am rather unforgiving of poor presenters and being told how to suck a lemon. At least this one is at Brisbane’s art precinct, so if all fails there will always be a museum or gallery to wander until the next session.
Go forth, my lovelies and spread my word…