“Alphabet” by Erwin Wagenhofer

Last weekend I went to see the film Alphabet, by Erwin Wagenhofer, which I really enjoyed.

On the one hand there were lots of aspects that educationalists would already be well acquainted with, such as voiceovers from Sir Ken Robinson. However, there were anecdotes and stories from Germany, France and China that were particularly thought provoking too.


Without destroying the film for you, should you choose to see it…

One question it left me pondering more than ever was whether there was any point in a structured education system at all. Perhaps this would make a good EduCafe topic for a future event.

Another thought was provoked by a Chinese official who remarks that people see children as kites and we want them to  fly high, but we also want to retain control by holding on to the kite’s string. I quite liked this as a metaphor for locus of control and it made me think about whether you need a string and, if so, how long it needs to be and who is holding it.

I’m also thinking about trying to organise a screening of this film for teachers, leaders, parents etc. Would you be interested?




Skills and dispositions

Judging by discussions with colleagues and what keeps popping up on Twitter, many people are busy analysing what skills/competencies/dispositions are required for the students we teach now. I think the following is the best list I’ve come across so far, given that the list was compiled by a global and diverse group of people – “researchers, practitioners and assessment experts”

ATC21S  has grouped “21st-century” skills into four  categories:

  • Ways of thinking. Creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making and learning
  • Ways of working. Communication and collaboration
  • Tools for working. Information and communications technology (ICT) and information literacy
  • Skills for living in the world. Citizenship, life and career, and personal and social responsibility

Looking at the list above makes me wonder about the distinction between learning and working. Are ICTs not useful tools for enabling or enhancing learning? Does learning how to learn mean that you are also learning the tools, materials or methods that help us learn too?

It also makes me reflect on the fourth category, which I think is missing from the My-learning diagram. There could be another iteration on its way!