Education: Is it about 'cradling happiness' or 'making us anxious'?


Published on

Slides for a 3 minute talk on "Education: Is it about 'cradling happiness' or 'making us anxious'?" to be given by Brian Kelly, UKOLN at the Purpos/ed event in Sheffield on 20 April 2011.


Published in: Education, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • My name is Brian Kelly. I’m based at UKOLN at the University of Bath and this is my contribution to the Purposed campaign on the future of education. Education: Is it about “ cradling happiness ” or “ making us anxious ” ?
  • In his blog post on the purpose of education Tom Barrett suggested that “ Education should be about cradling happiness ” . Another way of putting this which we will be familiar with is that “ learning  should be fun ”. And the fun that we can have in learning new things – which can include social learning, such as dance – as well as scholarly learning need not be restricted to the learner. It can also be fun teaching.
  • In contrast to Tom Barratt’s comment Dave White felt that “ Education should make us anxious ”. We will have all experienced feeling of anxiety whether it’s due to the difficulties in memorising irregular French verbs, understanding molecular chemistry or, more recently, trying to lean a new dance. But just as the fun aspects of learning aren’t restricted to the learner, so the feelings of anxiety will be felt by others involved in learning: the teacher wondering whether the approaches they are taking are working and whether they’ve chosen the right resources for the learner. Similarly those involved in use of technology to enhance learning may be worried whether the right technological approaches are being used. Is the Social Web, for example, really an appropriate mechanism for supporting informal learning? Was the open source VLE environment the right choice? And policy makers may secretly be anxious over changes in policies: I’m suggesting that new approaches to learning will be more effective than those used 30 years ago – but I did OK from the old styles of learning – what if I’m wrong and the ‘back to basics’ campaigners are right? After all, I’ve little evidence of the benefits of the new approaches.
  • For me, then, education is about understanding and addressing the gaps between the feeling of fun and excitement in learning something new and the feelings of anxiety which we may sometimes forget about. And let me point out that I’m not suggesting that the gap should be removed – I don’t think this is possible. Let me wrote in full Dave White’s comment on anxiety: “ …  education should make us anxious: anxious to discover new ways of understanding and influencing the world.  It should challenge our ways of seeing and force us to question our identities and our positions.” Learning professionals – and learning organisations – will continually strive to discover new ways of influencing learners and the learning processes. We will always be anxious. There will always be tensions. This is the challenge of the profession we have chosen.
  • Education: Is it about 'cradling happiness' or 'making us anxious'?

    1. 1. Education: Is it about “ cradling happiness ” or “ making us anxious ” ? Brian Kelly UKOLN University of Bath Bath, UK UKOLN is supported by: <ul><li>Acceptable Use Policy </li></ul><ul><li>You are free to: </li></ul><ul><li>photograph, record or broadcast </li></ul><ul><li>blog, tweet or message </li></ul><ul><li>during this talk. </li></ul>Blog: Twitter: @briankelly / @ukwebfocus
    2. 2. “ Education should be about cradling happiness ” Tom Barrett
    3. 3. Anxieties <ul><li>Anxieties: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For the learner </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For teachers; learning support staff; librarians; … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For learning organisations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>For funders and policy makers </li></ul></ul> “ Education should make us anxious ” Dave White
    4. 4. Education is about understanding and addressing the gap