Friday, 3 July 2009

Divisions within the whole

Division - a major cause of exclusion

In a rigid hierarchical system, such as education, organisation directly affects the wellbeing, and therefore learning, of all young people. Organising teaching in a way that is uniform and takes little account of personal uniqueness puts pressure on participants to conform. In the way they are run, schools often imposes an uniformity that does not exist, and create an order that impacts negatively on self image and self esteem. It is their perception of their relative place within the hierarchy that creates stress for many students.

If we keep pursuing standards that do not help achieve happiness in the long-term - we need to ask ourselves why on a deeper level. As Ken Robinson states, the ideological question here is whether our delivery of education is fit for purpose. If by aiming for results than do not ultimately contribute to personal growth we are harming young people, then bigger questions have to be asked. If successive and incremental changes only deepen inequality and add stress, then we are making the problem worse.

How can we make sure that every young person is equally valued as learner and ultimately given what they actually need for a fulfilling life. By introducing wholeness as a key, we get a representation of connection that will challenge the division imposed by the hierarchy discussed above. Wholeness has become a predominant theme across a wide number of areas, and there is little doubt that this is as a response to the fragmentation of human relationships imposed by an increasingly specialised workforce in a highly mobile world. Wholeness and the spirit of connection is also an easy way of conceptualising belonging.

Basically, we all belong and contribute to one world, and the imposed relative value and merit learnt at school has little place in a highly dynamic society. Our contribution to the community, our families and our jobs, are being redefined on a daily basis. The old social stratification no longer determines who will succeed or how they will do it. At the end of the day, pursuing what truly makes our close ones happy will have a much bigger bearing on how much we enjoy our lives.


Small thoughts on Inclusive Practice in Learning, Teaching and Assessment

In the Guardian a couple of weeks ago there was a piece - The Quest for equality - that usefully summarises many of the key ideas discussed in the workshops delivered to Bradford University recently on the topic of Inclusive Culture.

  • The first is the idea 'importance of directly involving disabled people in the development of policy and service provision' - something all marginalised groups feel strongly about - the ability of organinisations and their members to accept leadership from 'minority' groups on a variety of mainstream issues.
  • 'The benefit to society as a whole', Inclusion is fundamentally about improving community life for all, adressing discrimination leads to healthier societies.
  • Also, regarding the public sector duty: ' The duty is seen as key to a fairer world because of the size and influence of the sector'.
Which brings us back to the question around the personalisation agenda , and whether it will genuinely offer people more control?

There was also a piece about ofsted inspectors being asked to consider outcomes for disabled children, under new recomendations...


What do we want? Equity! When do we want it…

“What do you want?” Is an oppressive question that is often asked in a huffy tone by those who have benefited from the privilege and opportunity that enables powerful position. It often is implied that all effort is equally rewarded and opportunities are open to all. However, this is not the case, for some hard work is rewarded, while others need to work harder to reach the same position.

This week Stuart Rose was quoted on Simply Business:

Women in the workplace “have more equality than they can ever deal with” according to controversial Marks and Spencer chairman Stuart Rose. He asks: “What is it you haven’t got?” (

Answer: EQUITY

Mr Rose seems to have misunderstood equality entirely – it cannot be given. It is owned and threatened in a culture that systematically discriminates against certain groups. Women are equal! But they do not get treated equally, and often face limited opportunity – therefore their progress comes at a higher price. It is this lack of equity that is rarely understood. Stuart Rose - please acknowledge your privilege!

Women do and will achieve success in the workplace; unfortunately it is often at greater cost than their male peers. The effort needed to reach more senior positions involves working much harder. The time/effort required therefore often means having to make difficult decisions: giving up family time, leisure interests or personal growth opportunities.

Despite this heavy price women on average earn 17% less than men, and the gap is growing. While some argue that it is because of the career choice women make. Many would counter that choice is rare and ‘restricted option’ is a fairer description of the situation.

When addressing sexism specifically social stereotypes of women as carers and homemakers add to the problem. It is assumed that the full time work of running a home is the responsibility of women, who can somehow fit it around employment hours. This work is on occasion appreciated more when the roles are reversed - men then marvel at the hard work done by house-husbands! (I do wonder if such praise given to their own wives?)

The point is women deserve equity. We do not want what someone else has, we want the opportunity of fulfilling our own potential, to be successful on our terms.

Equal reward for equal effort!

When? ….. Now!

mole ;-p