secret powers & subversive activities

Keri Smith’s blog is always an inspiring place to drop by, which got me to buy some of her books. Promoting her new “This is Not a Book” book she posted these illustrations on the penguingroup blog:


She sums up very well what sadly, is many children’s experience. It certainly reflects to a large extent what my son had to go through. I might use this in some teacher training course!

Interestingly the Austrian Minsitry of Education has recently issued an edict demanding “holistic-creative learning culture in schools” outlining how  creativity should be a guiding principle for learning across the curriculum. This is great in principle, yes, but it beats me how educational authorities think creativity can be ordered on demand. As if a whole national school system developed over centuries, designed to stifle creativity will change with the issue of a five page statement. It will take some substantial backing in the form of funding, appropriate teacher training, dedicated and supportive groups of people in key positions, well planned long term strategies, the freedom to take risks and  lots of patience to see some real change. Otherwise it will just remain one more edict which teachers, in reality, are free to ignore.


Which leads to Keri Smiths second drawing in her post on “how I discovered my secret powers: Plot to infiltrate the system.” I think hers is a very good plan – I could do with some more superpowers though :-)

This reminds me of  Teaching as a Subversive Activity by Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner, first published in 1971. While the book sometimes is polemical and sketchy and has to be understood within the context of its time,  it is still an interesting and thought provoking read. It was also published in German, but is now out of print.

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