Sunday, February 05, 2012

Politics and Education: Your Journey

Recently an educator told me that he doesn't like it when educators weave political statements into their presentations.  I'm wondering about that.

If you are forging new paths in education, you will encounter political decisions and issues, and it is almost impossible to move forward without mention or notice of the political world that surrounds and embeds itself in education.

Yet, if we want to share our ideas for better effect, what discourse and actions will lead those ideas forward?

I watched a presenter share outstanding research and ideas recently, yet her presentation was not well received by the educators in the audience.  For many, her side talk and political jabs overtook the good ideas and thoughtful intent.

Those comments didn't bother me as I know it sometimes takes humor, strong opinion and sarcasm to move from a place of despair to a place of hope, from bondage to freedom, from noticing a problem to solving it.

Yet, once one has arrived at that new place, it's time to look around--to think about how one's vision and ideas can make a difference for many, and to determine the role of language in that evolution.

I am watching and listening to many innovators move outward from the despair of isolated classrooms to wonderful new practices to sharing their work and knowledge with others.  As I observe this evolution, I have many questions about that process:
  • What is inherent in the movement from a personal role in education to a broader, societal role?
  • How does language change as one embarks on this journey?
  • What values and truths does one return to when making decisions related to change?
  • How does one reconcile message and action with the political climate?
In the weeks to come, I will ponder these questions with greater depth.  I welcome your insights.