“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” – Eric Hoffer
This is a quote that I have read, heard and seen adapted many times in presentations, on twitter and in blogs. I really don’t think there would be anyone who seriously believes that our world is not changing, or that the workforce our students enter will be identical to our own experiences. I don’t believe resistance to change is due to a disbelief, or denial that our world is changing. What I do believe is that many teachers are purely a product of the education system they are now a part of. Learning was remembering facts and equations and completing pages of questions or cloze writing.
Probably rarely encouraged to question or challenge an idea or concept in school, for many of us, it was probably not until University where we were asked for an opinion of our own or an opportunity to reflect upon our own learning. Many are more comfortable with delivering a prescriptive curriculum than being designers of curriculum. Just as our students are more comfortable doing the same because they know it has been successful in the past.
So how can we expect our teachers to be learners if they have never learned to learn?
We need to foster a culture where questions are inherent in the development process. By encouraging questions and encouraging being questioned as a leader, we can show that there is not one decisive best way to educate all students, to run a program or to implement a process. Through continually questioning what we are doing and why we are doing it, we can model to develop better ways.
Not knowing the answers is the first step towards taking a risk and if we are to prepare for tomorrow, today must be approached with openness and willingness to be critical (not critisisors) of ourselves and of each other.