Random thoughts of an ed admin lifer

Ed leadership and stuff like that there

Nobody wanted to play my game . . .

Okay, so maybe the Pink Floyd was a little “edgy”. What I wanted to do is start a discussion about the imagery and hopefully get into some deeper meaning about the role education has played, is playing, and will play in our world. Here are some images and thoughts that I get when I watch the clip. (I sure am glad I don’t teach with that guy!)

  • Faceless students being hauled off (to become another brick in the wall?)
  • The crushing of creativity & individuality.
  • Rote memorization.
  • Corporal Punishment.
  • Students entering the school (box) in assembly line fashion.
  • Individual identities going in and exiting as faceless beings.
  • A maze, a big clock, a “teacher”.
  • A lot of focus on feet – modernity marching on relentlessly?
  • Egg carton like classrooms.
  • The “machine” . . . gears and hammers pound & grinding kids into a common mass.
  • Chaos ensues.
  • Breaking down the wall – the wall of what though? Is it a symbol or a barrier?
  • Is the resulting rebellion a form of self organization?

Anyone brave enough to chime-in?

10 Responses to “Nobody wanted to play my game . . .”

  1.   Cathy Nelson Says:

    SO where’s the Youtube link?? Lots of definite parallels that are absurdly frightening!

  2.   Trev Says:

    Hi Cathy – it is in the previous post, I am going to put a link in, now that you have pointed that out! Thanks!

  3.   Cathy Nelson Says:

    Thanks! Powerful post with a lot to think about.

  4.   David Warlick Says:

    I see some pretty definite themes in here that were actually quite relevant in my time, yet are no longer relevant for my children’s generation.

    First, the teachers go to great effort to present themselves as authorities, believing that they will not be listened to and what they teach will not be learned unless their authority as teachers and experts is not enforced.

    Today, when our world is ever changing and what were the right answers yesterday, are not necessarily going to be the right answer today, and almost certainly not tomorrow; our students (inheritors of tomorrow) must become master learners, not master students. My generation learned how to be taught. My children must learn to teach themselves.

    Another image that bears this out is the factory assembly line. We thought of the student who makes it through their schooling and graduates as being learned or educated — ready for job and duty. This was certainly the case when I graduated, where most of my classmates went straight to the mills, planning never to open another book.

    Of course the mills from my home town are now in China and Mexico, and my classmates who are employed have become learners again, adapting to new opportunities to contribute and make a living. Of all my brothers, I’m the only one who is still in the same industry that we left college for, though what I do today to support teaching and learning, wasn’t even imagined when I graduated from college — when desktop computers didn’t even exist.

    Then, it was literacy. Today it’s “learning literacy” and “literacy habits” that must be gained and students graduating with a “learning lifestyle.”

    2¢ Worth

  5.   Kelly Christopherson Says:

    Schools have the possiblility to be what is described, especially larger schools where numbers overpower the human contact. It doesn’t have to be this way but it takes great effort to break away from this mold because it means that we must put people first and that is a scary thing. What if I’m not liked? What if I make a mistake? What if it doesn’t work? My experience is that this type of thinking results in many teachers continuing to do what they have done before. To break this model takes the great will and determination. It means handing over some decision making to students and bringing them into the discussion as equal partners – that’s tough in a system that has viewed students as the receivers and not as partners in the input.

    Trev, this would be a great PD idea. I wouldn’t worry about how people react since it is this exact thing, putting people out of their comfort zone, that will bring out some great discussion. Keep strong!

  6.   Lisa Linn Says:

    I have found that most teachers will dislike any media, in this case lyrics, that defame their life’s’ work. However, it’s important to remember that the lyrics’ depiction of was written almost 30 years ago about the English school system of the 1950′s. Even American schools of the time routinely utilized corporal punishment, and reflected the “Children should be seen and not heard” mentality.

    The “Wall” is metaphorical, and therefore is a symbol of a barrier. The wall reflects the lack of conscious thinking and living, as well as the barriers we put up for ourselves and others, as a way of controlling the world in which we live. It’s all of those things and more which were later refutiated in the culture of the 1960′s.

    Just my nickel’s worth…

  7.   Jeff Newport Says:

    Or, as Bruce Springsteen said, “We learned more from a 3 minute song than we ever learned in school.”

    I’m finishing my 30th year in the profession, most of them as an elementary school principal. I grieve a bit more each day for the early days of my career, my own daughters schooldays or even my own days in the classroom.

    Thank goodness that the narrow focus on standards and assessments is taking a good beating in the professional literature these days. Sadly, it will take until after my retirement for laughter and joy, the arts and appreciation of and support for individual uniqueness to regain a place of prominence in our schools.

    Check out Graham Parker’s Back To Schooldays for a smile and a shake up the head.

  8.   Karl Fisch Says:

    Two things came to mind as I watched it. First, the idea of standards (standardization) taken to extremes; students as widgets on an assembly line. Second, fear. I think the scenes of chaos are what many people envision if we allow our students to have more of a say in their education.

  9.   Cindy Seibel Says:

    Have to agree on the “edgy” but the imagery is powerful. Schools as industrial factories. Even look at some of our buildings to day and they are hard to tell from a factory. The focus on the feet for me is about exerting control – they are required to move/learn in a particular way and in a lock-step fashion, no individuality here.
    What I can’t see in the imagery is what causes them to regain their individuality (when they rip off their masks). There does not seem to be a defining event. Unless that is the point, that there is only so much humanity can stand and at the point of “enough” change will happen.
    The wall for me is the collection of faceless children, each a brick in the wall. It is broken down when their individual expression and creativity is returned.
    Thanks for the post! Look forward to reading others’ opinions.

  10.   Diane Hammond Says:

    Well the good news I think is that schools in Canada are far more humane and nurturing environments than the one we see in the video! However our lock step “meet these curriculum expectations, pass this grade” system is not a lot different from the assembly line approach we see there.

    Are you going to use this video with your staff as a conversation starter? I would :-). It will definitely spark conversation! Teachers will be able to find the “good news” pieces and start the conversation on a very positive note before they’re pushed to start thinking about “that box” and compare it to “our boxes”.

    Please let us know how it goes!

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