Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I want to do better but don't have time to learn how.

This video featuring Sir Ken Robinson is one of several from the 2012 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference that you can find on YouTube. Below the video I've highlighted some quotes from the video and provided some comments.

In the first section of the video Robinson pointed out two challenges that I think are relevant to everything I've been writing about on this blog.

1) "Practitioners don't have time for theory" - To me he's saying 'The people in the classroom, or leading tutor/mentor programs, don't have time to view all of the videos, read all the blogs, or read all the research this is being produced.' This is a critical issue. Learning should be focusing on adults who need more about social problems and solutions, not just kids going from first grade through traditional education systems.

2) "Policy makers don't know much about theory or practice"...This is even more important. The people who are making policy decisions at the government level, or who make funding decisions at the corporate or foundation level are focused on short term issues and are often too busy to spend time learning from all of the information available to them. How do we engage them in learning from all of the information that is being shared?

I wrote an article a few weeks ago showing how it's hard to get non profit leaders to collaborate on fixing some of the problems they face because they are too busy fighting for day-to-day survival and success in their work. I hope that my articles stimulate thinking among others so we can innovate ways to engage more people in learning from each other and from on-line information.

Robinson also said in this video "No Social Change is Linear. It is unpredictable and dynamic." This article about Evaluating Social Innovation is one of many I've posted in the Tutor/Mentor Connection library that shows challenges non profits face. I feel that if we can engage volunteers, donors, policy makers, practice leaders, etc. in on-going on-line learning and relationship building we can create shared understanding of the goals of innovative projects before we begin to frame strategies to achieve them. My leadership of tutor/mentor programs intended to engage volunteers as leaders so they would give more of their own time, talent and dollars to help do the day-to-day work because they had a personal understanding of where we were headed and how well we were doing in getting there.

Robinson recommended that we "Engage in the flow of knowledge" and stated "We learn from collaboration". I've focused on site-based volunteer-rich non-school programs because they connect adults from beyond poverty -- and from the workplace -- with youth and families living in high poverty neighborhoods in an on-going learning process. Robinson talked about the "economic purpose of education". If business leaders see a strategic value in supporting employee involvement and use of company resources to make constantly improving tutor/mentor programs available in more places, we would begin to see programs in more places with talented staff who keep volunteers and youth involved for multiple years, and support learning by both youth and volunteers. Such programs could support a constant increase in the resources available and the number of people involved.

This animation by one of my interns illustrates how supporting the volunteer's growth can make a difference.

I've written a number of articles focused on learning. I think that we won't solve our K-12 education problems until we build an adult-learning support system where adults become personally engaged in service projects and through that are engaged in learning more about why the service is needed and ways they and other adults need to be more consistent in providing the resources to support the places where adults and kids connect.

Those places can be schools operating from 8am to 3:30pm, or non school programs operating right after school or in the evening or weekend hours.

Robinson said "There is everything you can do." I agree. We all have a role to play in creating social change and making mentor-rich programs available in high poverty neighborhoods of Chicago and other cities.

I hope you have found time to read this far and hope you'll share this with others.

1 comment:

Tutor Mentor Connections said...

I'm part of a Deeper Learning MOOC that started in Jan 2014 and one article started out with "I am swamped and I am reading how others are swamped."