Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Deepest regrets...

I still have this.

I sent it to my friend Terry.

It represents regret.

At the time it was an expression of romantic regret.

Looking at it now, I can see that it also speaks to me of educational regret.

Regret that we put teachers and lessons and kids in little boxes.

Regret that we ask kids to choose 'subjects' so that they may become useful objects.

"Oh he's a square peg in a round hole..."

"What are you going to do for 'A' levels, What you going to do at university?"

Ad infinitum.

"Well if you want a job, you shouldn't do art." 
"Nobody makes a career out of art." 
"Well, if you want a job, you shouldn't do theatre."
 "Nobody makes a career out of theatre..." 

Ad infinitum.

We talk of jobs, of careers when we might be speaking about purpose.

There was a song Regrets written and performed in the classroom by Etienne and Loic here:

Over a week the song, shared on Youtube and Twitter, became a transmedia remix thanks to Kevin, Ron, Maha, Bryan and Terry here in his post 'Regrets.'

Maha wondered about the ethics of remixing Etienne and Loic's song in her blog:

'Here's a gift now wait while we party.'

Kevin responded with:
'The song is theirs not ours.'

One of the images in Terry's Z33ga was this one:

I was reading John Stepper's book this morning "Working out loud" and was introduced to Amanda Palmer's TED talk here:

Amanda Palmer talks of her art as a gift of herself, she talks of inviting others to participate in her art.

She talks of the vulnerability of the artist who stretches out to others...

I thought of the gifts in play here.

The gift of the opportunity to play music in English and get graded on it.
The gift of the song and the performance.
The gift of those who listened and gave of themselves to remix the song.
The gift of those who thought about the ethics of sharing, of remixing, of invitation...
The gift of those who introduced me to Working out Loud.
The gift of the author of the book Workign out Loud.

I thought about the music business, the education business and decided that we do indeed have ethical questions to raise.

Are kids to be reduced to numbers in international league tables for maths?

Do we have international league tables for guitar playing or art?

Is Shanghai doing well on drawing, on creativity?

I went to find the source of the statistics which appeared in Terry's Z33ga and I found it here in this article:
"What we regret most and why"

I come back to that top regret - that of education.

I wonder what I might have gained if others around the world had paid attention to my drawing, my writing, my acting at an early age.

I wonder what I might have gained had I been invited to communicate with passionate artists, writers, actors at an early age.

I thought of High Tech High.

I wonder what I might have gained if had been encouraged more to follow my passions rather than worry about 'subjects' to get into 'university'.

I consider myself lucky.

I was able to follow my path without pressure from parents wherever it would lead me.

I remember meeting a top marketing manager who told me how he hated his job, his existence despite the expensive car, the big salary.

I don't have those regrets.

I did have great teachers who encouraged me in acting, writing, art.

I do remember the frustration of my art teacher who asked me why I was giving up art.

I remember telling him that I had been told that it was not a serious subject, that it wouldn't get me a good job....

I remembered tweeting a passage of "Working out Loud" and a question to John Stepper

 I wondered what regrets you had about education...


  1. So much here as always. Not a lot of time for me to ruminate and reply properly. Disengagement and health. Yes. Sometimes if you follow your education into a job/career you end up badly grafted. That can be fatal. The cost of disengaged students is a responsibility we bear. What about disengaged adults at work? Is that they ask you in the interview: what is your hobby? What is you life support in a dull working environment? Mine would be my inner world.

  2. Sometimes, the act of paying attention is a generous gift in and of itself.