Monday, 23 June 2014

After reading Chapter 5 of OPEN, I ask you to engage with disengagement

This week in my reflection and review of Chapter 5 of the powerful book  OPEN: How we'll work, live and learn in the future by David Price  I ask you to engage with disengagement. Although this is only a short chapter, the messages for us as educators are so mammoth that I will dedicate two posts to this chapter. This first post is a wake up call and gives you the cold hard facts about disengagement. As I am a solutions focused educator, my next post will offer some practical solutions to overcoming disengagement in our schools.

In my last post, I mentioned that I was busy preparing an engaging 'short,sharp and shiny' overview video to accompany my sabbatical report presentation on engaging every student in deep learning I thought that I would have completed it by now. Unfortunately, the programme that I chose to create my engaging video with has caused me much frustration. When I went to include my voice over and then upload it to You Tube, it would not respond. I have since painstakingly created a second video and have had success with the voice over but not with publishing the video yet. I am determined to succeed!

In creating an 'engaging' video I experienced total disengagement yet again. My last experience was related to editing and rewriting my sabbatical report. It is not until you experience disengagement yourself, that you can truly connect with the reality of what is happening in some classrooms for a large number of our students within our schools locally and globally. Having to recreate each element of my video over and over again made me feel frustrated and bored. How do our learners feel when they are faced with 'more of the same', repetitive  'busy work' such as essays, reports or  worksheets that mean 'eyes down','not a sound' until you're finished' ? Is this an engaging learning environment?

Now I ask you to engage with disengagement :

Deeply reflect on a time when you have felt disengaged or even better, go ahead and complete a 'busy' worksheet or task you have prepared for your students.

Now reflect on your emotions at the time in relation to Price's description of engaging learning environments and consider this in relation to your own classroom :
Price believes that "visionaries of the future are likely to emerge from the kind of environments where learning is collaborative, social, passion-led and values-drive, networked, horizontal, democratic and creative." (page 101)

 If you are brave enough, share your reflection, thoughts and feelings of disengagement below in the comments box.

Price also shares frightening statistics on student disengagement (page 96,97) across the world and talks about 'disengaged achievers who gain good grades but are emotionally disinvested in their learning '. (page 98) The frightening message is that disengaged students become disengaged employees or non- employed.

In my next post, I will review more from Chapter 5  'Getting Engaged' in OPEN: How we'll work, live and learn in the future by David Price and suggest some practical solutions to overcoming disengagement in our schools. I also sincerely hope to share my 'engaging' video with you too.

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