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Thursday, June 02, 2016

Power, Perspective, and Philosophy

Philosophical perspectives differ in education.

There is a power differential too.

A challenge for educators is that there are times when they have less power and their philosophical perspectives may differ from those who have the power.

That's one reason why unions are important--unions represent the "little guy" or the educators with potentially less individual power and possibly differing philosophies and perspectives related to their roles working with children most of the time each day.

In an ideal world, all in education would find ways to work together, listen to one another, and share power and perspectives in advantageous ways to meet the collective goal of teaching children well, but in truth, there will always be debate, differing perspectives, and power differentials no matter what groups you belong to.

This variation is important, and if we embrace this variation with good process, I believe we will reach best possible ideas, practice, power share, and perspectives.

The challenge in most educational organizations is to find profitable process--the kind of process that energizes and positively promotes our best possible work--the "collective genius" of the organization.

That process won't look exactly the same in every school system, but there will be some constants. There needs to be room for voice, choice, passion, relevance, meaning, dignity, respect, working together, goal setting, and staying abreast of new discovery and knowledge.

Sometimes struggles related to power, perspective, and philosophy can create walls between what's possible and what is--these walls, at times, can hinder students from reaching the potential possible. We all have to be mindful of the work we do to create these walls, and the work we do to deconstruct these walls. This is a critical area of focus. In the best possible situations, we are all working to make the paths of idea share, creation, and good work fluid, integrated, and focused rather than fraught with obstacles that disable what we can do.

Power, perspective, and philosophy play a role in every organization. We need to be mindful of our own roles in this regard and work towards process that brings these three dominant forces together for the good of what we do for the students we serve.