Last night, I attended a book talk with two friends. It was an evening with Michael Rosen and we were all very excited when we were on our way. When we left the venue an hour later, we were all rather muted. We had gone with the hope of inspiration, to hear the wonders of language and we had a secret hope of some performance poetry. But the evening did not unfold in this way.
Let me be clear, we did enjoy the conversation and it gave us food for thought. But in fact, the evening felt more like political activism than it did a book talk. We work in education. We know it is a difficult time to be a teacher, learner or in my case a school librarian. Michael Rosen had written his new book Good Ideas: How to be your child’s (and your own) Best Teacher for parents. I have yet to read it myself but the anecdotes that were shared last night were certainly entertaining. Rosen wants parents to encourage their children to be curious, to question the world around them. He thinks education should be: investigation, interpretation, cooperation (and one other which I just cannot recall right now). He thinks children should learn how to learn. I do not disagree. We certainly aim for this in our library lessons.
I guess the thing my mind is still trying to fathom this morning is that Rosen told us the government want a low wage economy. They are changing the education system because too many people were achieving too highly. We had too many students going to university so they have to make it harder to do so. The latter I remember hearing on the news.
It’s like I entered the theatre and discovered I live in a dystopian society and it sent my mind reeling. The suggestion that our society aspires to keep a percentage of the population downtrodden is horrifying.
All in all, I can’t say last night inspired me. I didn't leave feeling uplifted and enthused. If there were any parents in the audience, I wonder how they felt. I think the audience was mainly teachers and other education professionals. Rosen did get me thinking though. Perhaps that was the point.