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The Clock is Ticking – Richard

November 2, 2011

“The only way to be happy is to love. Unless you love your life will flash by…

Do good to them. Wonder. Hope. Future.”

It isn’t always that you interview someone with something to say, something meaningful that is, people say things everyday, most of it garbage, very little of it is gold.

Wednesday 26 October 2011, I don’t confess myself to remember everything from the interview, I probably remember very little, but the message was there, the message I remember. Over the past few days, the message changed, it evolved, evolved based on my mood, my feelings. In the end it wasn’t even about education, or teaching anymore.

Dave Truss was a wonderful interview subject, and I thank him for that, we talked about a lot centred around education, and the changes we need. We talked about the shortfalls, and the adversity we have to change, for the system we have today was built when crops still needed to be harvested by the majority, and summer break was given, to tend to the fields. It was a different situation then, yet why does it still exist? He pointed out two things, one which was direct, and one indirectly, I remember him saying to me, “We don’t like change,” or something along those lines. The other thing was power, the current system puts power in the hands of the teacher, and the students just follow like a Shepard leading sheep. We all like power, who doesn’t? The people up there, who call the shots are afraid of letting go, or as Dave Truss put it, “putting more power in the hands of the students.”

He was right, he is right, you know. There is guiding along the path, and then there is controlling the path, we should be the ones as learners to shape the path, we should get more involved, and be more in control. He believes that the system should be catering to the students, an all inclusive system, where we all build it, that’s not saying that we shouldn’t have teaching goals, just teaching them in a manner that pertains to the students’ strengths, and weaknesses. You could also say that there are students who don’t work without being pushed, and in most cases even when being pushed. In a free market system, as the world should be, those who work hard, innovate, and create are rewarded, those who don’t are punished accordingly, and after all School is about preparing you for real life, and that is pretty close to real life is it not?

“Education now is about utilizing all available resources to create a learning environment where sharing and teaching goes both ways, and beyond the classroom doors.” Learning has to evolve now, it has to be global, especially with accessibility getting more and more pervasive in the technological sense, it’s become necessary to prepare students to deal with the global community. We need to spread our sights from local to global, because it builds our skills, and with our global network of trade, connections, we need to go global, with students online in Canada teaching others in Mumbai, from London to New York, and from Paris to Tokyo, teachers teaching teachers, students teaching teachers, and etc. We have to really let go of our past confines, and understand we all have strengths, and there are definitely students in the room who know more than the teachers in certain areas, and while teachers didn’t utilize that knowledge before, it’s time to change, adapt to our strengths, and if the student is better then let them teach, let them reach out, and become part of the community of teaching, and shape their path, and influence others. We have to be the one to take the initiative now, if we want to survive, and prosper.

The one thing that stuck especially deep with me, was when he said, “He lives the life,” he could easily just dictate his wishes, or influence change, yet live his way, but he does go with the change, he lives his words, from laptops in China, to now working in Open Learning changing that, from more textbook based to more community based.

Over the weekend I saw a movie called “‘In Time” with a couple of mates, it was better than expected, but the concept the movie is based on, time is money, and your life. You stop ageing at 25, and you have one year left to live, the poor die young, and the rich live forever, made me wonder how much time would I have? 500 years? 3 000? 10 000? 512 136? or more? That led me to think, what would I do with those 10 000 years? How would I spend it? Living life is about love, you don’t live unless you experience, and love what you do. You can live a life alone, but you must love that way, and love what you do. A life without love is no life at all, live life the way you love it, don’t let people change that. Don’t live simply because you have 10 000 years on your clock, do something with that time. Do something you believe in with your life, like Dave Truss, like so many others that keep the world the same, or change it, whatever it is, they do it because they believe.

Now tell me something, what would you do with 512 136 years 2 months 4 days 6 hours 42 minutes and 13.75 seconds because I sure as hell wouldn’t waste it.

Whether it be this

In Time

Or That

In Time 2

“Life, love to live it, live to love it.”

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 3, 2011 2:12 am

    Wow! Richard, is there ever a lot of great stuff here. It sounds like your conversation with Dave made for a lot of interesting thinking, and a continued digestion of what you are striving to create in life, and where you are trying to extend and challenge your own thinking. To take on such a breadth of ideas and communicate them so fluently is a great feat of writing, to be sure.

    A few points worth further discussion:

    “In a free market system, as the world should be, those who work hard, innovate, and create are rewarded, those who don’t are punished accordingly, and after all School is about preparing you for real life, and that is pretty close to real life is it not?”

    Though I think even Alan Greenspan would disagree with you that free markets represent the world as it “should be,” I wonder about the necessity of systems to punish those who are perhaps not ultimately able to participate in them fully, whether their limitations are based in genetics, geography, religion or their socioeconomic status.

    How do you reconcile the idea of punishing those who do not start out with the same opportunities as others with the idea that school (a globalized one, at that) should also be where “we let go of our past confines, and understand we all have strengths?” Surely the children of the Mumbai ghettos stand little chance of rising to the same heights as someone who has the privilege of attending school in our cozy suburb; but I would have a tough time justifying that either of us has reached such a place in the world chiefly as a result of our “hard work, innovation, and creativity” (or lack thereof).

    I saw a trailer for the In Time movie this weekend as well and can’t wait to see it, myself. I see a lot of the comparison with the lives of children born in Mumbai, or Kinshasa, or Bangui, in an allegorical world where “You stop ageing [sic] at 25, and you have one year left to live, the poor die young, and the rich live forever.” There is little more justice in a world that produces enough food to feed many times the Earth’s population, and yet where millions die of starvation.

    I agree with you that education, and the place it takes in society, needs “to change, adapt to our strengths, and if the student is better then let them teach, let them reach out, and become part of the community of teaching, and shape their path, and influence others. We have to be the one to take the initiative now, if we want to survive, and prosper.” But I also believe that everyone is entitled to the same opportunity to prosper (or live forever), and that people should be offered an opportunity to speak before we decide to punish them for their silence.

    That all being said, your last few thoughts are unimpeachable:

    “Do something you believe in with your life, like Dave Truss, like so many others that keep the world the same, or change it, whatever it is, they do it because they believe.”

    Though I may occasionally disagree with their opinions, I think that people investigating, exploring, and living out their beliefs is one of the most important things in the world, and I am always glad to see your efforts to synthesize and express your thoughts here and on your own blog. Thanks for so bravely and consistently conducting your learning in public, and nudging my own thinking into action.

    • November 6, 2011 7:53 pm

      I will agree with you on the fact that people are given disproportionate opportunities in life, I would certainly considered people in many parts of Europe, the States, and Canada to have an advantage over many people in the less affluent parts of the world. I feel that potentially we should help those people out, out of, and only out of the compassion of our hearts, and the sympathy. I do agree with you, that simply because certain groups and sectors of the human population may be constrained by fiscal problems whether it be responsibility or otherwise, among other factors doesn’t mean that they should necessarily in a moral point of view be punished for their misfortune of being born into the wrong place at the wrong time. However, with that being said I don’t believe that we have the obligation to help them. Obligations are those tasks under law or under doctrine that demands you to do a certain action, or refrain from a certain action. We should help people who are less fortunate than we are, and we should strive to give them not a necessarily level playing field, but a playing field more level than it is now.

      I would disagree with you on the fact “that the free market world doesn’t represent the world as it should be”, however in the present climate of the world the pure free market system in its entirety doesn’t fit the world the best. I recognize that fact, however if we can rectify the nuances that set India from England, and Pakistan from Canada, then I think that in this what some would define as “idealistic” society the free market system works best.

      I would agree with you that the current differentiations between Christians, and Muslims, the HNWIs and those in the E class present limitations that are strict, and unwavering. I would agree with you that simply because you work hard doesn’t necessarily mean you get where you want to be whether your school is discriminatory against those who are less affluent, or those who are of a different ideology, however I would dismiss a completely level playing field, whether or not it is possible. I am a firm believer that there should be differences between everyone, these class differences define us, however the current gaps should be made closer, and less disparate.

      Lastly, I would argue that the main reason we are here is because we worked hard, because we innovated. Everyone rise or consequent descent on the ladder is mainly based on one’s personal diligence, as that is what drives us, what punishes us, or rewards us. Even for those who are in the less prosperous areas those who rise above and beyond the standard, beyond the confines changes their status, and parachutes them to a higher level of success than what they would’ve comparatively gotten had they not tried, or simply just did what was necessary to get through with their life.

      Also, thank-you for the comment, and thanks to Dave Truss as well for remembering the interview, and commenting on my blog.

  2. November 3, 2011 12:19 pm

    I enjoyed the interview Richard, you asked some engaging and challenging questions. Also this is a very thoughtful reflection!

    With respect to the idea of ‘going global’, you said:

    “Education now is about utilizing all available resources to create a learning environment where sharing and teaching goes both ways, and beyond the classroom doors.” Learning has to evolve now, it has to be global, especially with accessibility getting more and more pervasive in the technological sense, it’s become necessary to prepare students to deal with the global community. We need to spread our sights from local to global

    I have to agree with Mr. J, in that part of a global education would involve appreciating that place of birth, and opportunities to succeed, etc. are disproportionately shared, and I would add that perhaps we have not just an opportunity, but also an obligation to be tolerant, compassionate and even philanthropic.

    Whether it be time or money (or our attitudes), we use our energy in ways that influence others. Do we spend that energy empowering others, be they students in the suburbs of Vancouver, Canada or children of the Mumbai ghettos, or are our opportunities to rise in an open and free market more important? In the entire history of the ‘free world’ I wonder if there has ever been a decade in which the extremely rich have not widened the gap between themselves and the rest of the world? Are they the leaders we want to follow? Do they provide you and I with opportunites to rise to our greatest capabilities? Do they empower others?

  3. January 15, 2012 11:21 am

    If this is known, how hard the filters will have to work can be a known quantity and hence how long the filters will last can be understood.

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