Tuesday, 8 November 2011

I hear you, brother. And sister.

You should all go and read this from the thinkers and doers outside St Paul's, printed in the Independent newspaper last Friday.

Incidentally, I can't link to the article as in the newspaper. I am still being ambushed by a guru who would like me to meditate over my 400 errors. (Dig says it is all my fault. Enough.)

Anyway, the issues brought to the undoubtedly widespread Independent readership, relating to learning, are the tofu burger and barleycup of my life; these ideas have informed our thinking about what constitutes an education for our children and directed our practical choices:
'In the context of the contemporary neoliberal 'marketisation' of universities, education functions less as a creator of critical, free-thinking human beings and more as a production chain for the integration of the young into the market economy'
''anyone can teach, everyone can learn' and we seek to promote an approach to learning that prioritises process over end-point and values the skills all of us have to share and the capacity all of us have to learn. Our workshops are therefore given by bicycle mechanics and electricians as well as by academics'
Yes, these ideas do shape our days. You don't have to be camping outside St Paul's to be working through their implications. (We'll only entertain ourselves in working out how to compromise an IGCSE syllabus with an autonomous 'free-thinking' child.)

Encouraging to me, and what I think all Independent readers should also know, is that there are a lot of us people out here, thinking and doing along the same lines.

You should see my inbox, with the home ed email debating lists. Every morning I can read multiple debates about every possible angle, cause, consequence, and permutation resulting from Section 7 of the 1996 Education Act, from its history into the future, all alongside the mundane reality: The round-the-world co-op is meeting next Wednesday in the village hall.

So I was quite pleased that the Independent gave space for this, the stuff of my life (even if for me it comes with a gatekeeping guru). I would like to think a newspaper can present to you more than the mainstream and, specifically, can believe its readership will assume that ideas about education are fundamentally important because those ideas bring about the society we live in.

But isn't it ever so difficult, communicating ideas about education?

I confess. I had to raise a smile. I observe the way that even I couldn't quite throw myself in with the spirit. I think it was the over-enthusiastic headline. Some of the language too. How I recognise that! My inbox is certainly busting with neoliberalism. Yes, all that, and - when I last could retrieve this article online - it was charmingly followed by no comments.

The shackles of apathy in the Independent readership had clearly not loosened enough to allow the raising of a finger to a keyboard, not even from the regular contributor, the gangsta rapping troll.

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