Friday, 24 August 2007

Diversity works - boats, schools et al

Taking time out as we waited for the gales to subside - popped into Gurnard to watch the Prince of Wales trophy race for International 14 dinghies - one of the world's oldest development sailing classes. As a development class they are always trying for new ideas and the class is a wonderful confection of carbon and ingenuity.

Like learning, sailing has a huge number of variables - the physics of it is fascinating, but so is the meteorology, the tactics, the engineering, the teamwork and the battle against sometimes really horrid elements of wind and waves. Of course teams vary too - in the Int 14s there are many solutions to the single measure of success (ie "did we win") and the boats look very different, but perform in very similar ways; some conditions suit one solution, others suit a different "recipe" of the known ingredients of design.

It is just the same in designing schools - and here of course there are many and more complex measures of success (self esteem, exams, engagement and so many more). It is SO clear that one size does NOT fit all, and yet I keep meeting people who would seek to impose "one way" of doing things on learners.

Maybe they too should take time out to look at the International 14s?

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