Setting the Scene

The title for this manifesto: Still Trying to Find X refers to the age-old mathematical problem of trying to figure out the value of X.

In the problem, we’re given all the relevant information we need to calculate its value, but sometimes it still eludes us.

For some, the answer seems almost too obvious – and as a result they completely miss the point.

I believe we are faced with similar problems in education, with regard to the following issues. 

  • Engagement
  • Wellbeing
  • Achievement
  • Why do we send kids to school?

I also believe the subtle misunderstandings we have in these areas create an ever widening disconnect for students in the 21st century.

The frustrating thing is, many teachers do understand the shortcomings of our education system, but few in authority – or society in general, ever listen to them.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that the education system is as completely dysfunctional as some very prominent commentators would have us believe.

However, despite the enthusiasm, professionalism and commitment of teachers, I do believe there are some fundamental things in schools that we just don’t quite get.

And when I say, “we” – I mean, governments, principals, teachers, parents and kids.

The aim of this manifesto is not to provide definitive solutions.

Rather it is intended to provoke discussion and challenge the malaise that can infect our educational institutions.

It is aimed at stoking the fire that is within all teachers, but in all likelihood has been dampened by short-sighted politicians or the results and accountability-driven system in which they work.

It’s aimed at parents, grandparents, politicians, social workers or anyone with an interest in our kids.

You may think some of the ideas in Still Trying to Find X are worth exploring, you may think others aren’t worth giving a second thought. It doesn’t matter so much what you think of the ideas in this manifesto, just that you do think about them.

You are the experts in your school. How could you apply some of these ideas? How would you enhance these ideas? I look forward to hearing from you!

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