Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Resist, Rebel, Revolt!

I saw this sticker at work today, slapped on the front wall of one of the classrooms. Someone has tried to peel it off, but with little apparent effort to fully remove it. I figure another student wanted to try to keep it, but it simply tore instead.

I chuckled when I saw this. It's more funny than serious, and has the feel of a 1950s advertisement for a cola. You know the sort of thing - a healthy, well behaved lad, probably called Johnny Goodboy, winking and telling us how much he enjoys it. It's a lovely kitschy mash with a message that subverts the image.

Of course I took a photo. That's something I do. But it got me thinking in light of last week's readings, and then it took on a much deeper meaning and message for me.

Ah yes, thinking back to my undergraduate years now, studying literature and remembering Roland Barthes mentioned in passing. No, I didn't read any of his work, but I recall his ideas (in very basic terms) that the author's intent has little value, and the reader bring their experience, understanding, knowledge and worldview to the text - that is the reader defines the meaning.

So for me this sticker has taken on a new meaning. As educators we need to resist, rebel and revolt against the inertia of traditional education and teaching. Change management is difficult, and teachers are notoriously resistant to change. Even adventurous teachers are hesitant to radically change their methods of delivery. This can be for a number of reasons, not least school policies, costs, time and peer pressure.

Revolution doesn't always have to be violent, but by its definition it needs to be sudden or rapid. And when governments talk of revolutionary changes to education policy and practice, you can rest assured they generally aren't.

Oh, and Happy Halloween.

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