Back in November I was asked to do the most difficult task so far in my job as a teacher educator; to deliver a lecture as part of a course on the purposes of education on my ‘vision and values’ for education.
The ‘Vision and Values’ module is taken by our 4th year BEd students, and is heavily anticipated. It takes the form of a weekly lecture series from a wide range of speakers, both members of staff at Plymouth University and guest speakers. This is then followed up by seminars for discussion, and reading into educational philosophy; the aim of which is to encourage our students to develop their own ‘vision and values’ for the education system they are becoming a part of.
Nearly two years ago, as a school teacher, I shared my 500 words on what I felt was the purpose of education, and I thought long and hard about how I would presented my developing perception of this to my students. When I was in school I felt so sure of what this was, I was so solid in my convictions. Afforded the time and range of influences I am now, that vision only seems to become less clear, becoming only clearer in what it is not rather than what it is.
Being, as I am, in state of such questioning I felt I could not stand on a soapbox and tell the two hundred students what it was I thought they should think education should be. What I felt I could do is raise questions, so that is what I did. Rather than basing my lecture around statements of visions or values I felt the students should take onboard unquestioningly, I decided to present them with some underlying assumptions that I have found myself questioning as my thinking around what education is has developed.
I hoped to provide only questions, not answers, but with such a personal subject it is inevitable that few arguments and opinions slipped through. I must say that since the time since I delivered this I would probably change a few points myself, but such is the nature of this talk, and its message.
Education is never a done deal; its all about those involved constantly learning. Here I share some of the learning I have done over the past couple of years, and hopefully encourage those of you who watch to think again about some of these assumptions. Whether you decide to challenge them or, having questioned, let them stand is up to you. All I hope is that we all ask the questions from time to time.