Friday, September 9, 2016

Keystone cops.

I rather regret watching Donna Lanclos and Dave O White's keynote at ALTC.

I promised myself that I would do something much more useful with my time.

Now, I am writing this bloody blog post about their knockabout double-act.

Have they no respect for the dignity attached to a keynote talk (sermon)?

Have they forgotten the appropriate dress-code?

What was the thing with that tweed jacket and the red shoes?

Why did they keep butting in on each others' scripts

Had they not rehearsed their performance before?

Where was the content?

Have keynotes between reduced to cut-price stand-up?

Are we teachers to take note and become impro artists?

There is virtually nothing that I retain from that talk.

All that I can remember now was their jaunty manner.

  • A slide with a bunch of Twitter handles of unknown Tweeps. (I assume academics).

Who were they? 

  • A whole series of slides with triangles.

What am I supposed to retain?

  • An upside down triangle (badly drawn.)

Has nobody taught them how to use Powerpoint to INSERT triangles and other shapes?

And there was something about taking responsibility.

Ah yes, I remember them saying:


Well, my oh my, that bodes well for their institutions!

They talked about being human...about trying to get into the rooms where THEY are deciding on educational policy.

(I suppose they are referring to those serious people who do real keynotes and dress appropriately and make important responsible decisions about THE INSTITUTION - for our benefit and for the greater good)

There was something about CONTENT. 

There was something about MANAGEMENT.

There was something about IDENTITY.

Now, despite the paltry quality of the afore-mentionned keynote and associated capers, I have started, (quite independently of their nonsense) asking myself questions.

Why is it that I keep thinking about foundations and pyramids?

Why is it that I keep thinking about stars and trees?

Why is it that I am thinking about the Keystone Cops?

Why is it that I am thinking about our children and our responsibility as citizens?

Why are we in awe of triangles, pyramids, stars, trees?

Who is responsible for the cops?

Why is humanising a keynote of interest?

All those questions...

I thought that I'd better insert their Keynote just to work out why the hell I had had all those questions after watching that rubbish talk.

Tired of Triangles, Tired of Trees.

I suddenly had a vision of a Christmas tree.

I suppose because of its triangular form.

I think of what that Christmas tree represents to a us.

There is that idea of family and communion.

There is an idea of a community coming together to share.

There is a ritual of decoration, of making a special symbol.

There is often a star which attracts our eyes vertically.

Perhaps such a ritual exists in different forms in all cultures?

Such rituals pass from generation to generation.

Baubles and Bollocks.

If we speak of higher education, perhaps we seek to strive for what is higher than ourselves?

There may well be keynote stars who will or have become keystones for their communities.

There are those who forget their responsibility to their fellow humans striving to become.

After all, they are or they have become someone (special).

They/We are dazzled by the tinsel and the baubles, and the fairy.

They/We forget that their tree is maintained by all of us...

Nowadays it is more often than not artificial, mass produced, manufactured in China.

They want us to believe in Santa Claus (Them?)

They have lots of presents because they have been good boys. (Did nobody tell them it's the parents?)


It suddenly occurs to me that Donna Lanclos, and Dave O White's act is quite profound.

We get the Donald Trumps and the Nicolas Sarkozy's that we deserve.

We get the institutions that we deserve.

If we don't take responsibility and give voice to our concerns and act...

We get the Cops that we deserve.

We are in this together.

This is our mess.

What are we going to do about it?

What are you going to to about it?

We need to learn to constitute activist Communities Of Practice and fight.

Do we want:

an A WE SOME education system?


Another of Trump's Pyramid Scheme Scams?

Keystone Cops

Nobody could deny Mr White and Mme Lanclos's humanity, nor their respect for their foundational COP.

I recognised a few members of those keystone cops...




I recognise their humility, the depth of their learning and their openness to fellowship.

I see @catherinecronin

I suddenly remember a couple of keynotes which have inspired me and fill me with wonder.

One from ALT 2014 given by @catherinecronin

One from @gardnercampbell entitled "Ecologies of Yearning."

I think back to the Keystone Cops, and to other clowns.

We must bring our authority figures down to earth.

We must not fear that we are any less than them.

Higher education is not about worshipping those on high it is about learning that we are all looking up while remaining down to earth and realising our common failings.

What is our life if not a comic-tragedy?

Seriously, what is worth fighting for, what is worth working towards?

An education for critical thinking and learning.
A space for becoming and wonder
A democracy for enabling respect of our fellows.
A place for nurturing our ecosystems within which we exist.
A community with whom we can play, laugh, cry, and dream.


We must not be content with less.

No comments:

Post a Comment