The kids are alright…

“I want to interrupt very respectfully… At the end of the day, the Australian public elected you as the Government and you are in a responsible position now to fix these problems but instead all you’re doing is saying if we had Labor in, this would be the case. You weren’t elected to play the blame game.”

Geordie Brown, from Oxley High in Tamworth, appearing on ABC’s Q & A (6/11/17)

Sometimes, when confronted with the height of teenagers in full “sassy, death stare” and/or “feral persona embodied during windy weather periods”, etc. I despair over their potential as future leaders.

Thank God for Geordie et. al. featuring on last night’s (6/11/17) episode of 21st century commentary show, Q & A.

Neil Mc Mahon articulates it best in his op-ed piece, “Q&A recap: Teenagers school MPs on Gonski 2.0 and dual citizenship saga” (Click here to see the piece)

“In a period when the nation gawps daily at its capital and mutters “Who are the adults in the room?”, Monday night’s Q&A cut straight to the chase and handed the whole shebang over to the kids. “

It’s refreshing to be confronted by this sensible, smart and savvy student cohort that suggest that students are able to empower themselves with knowledge and participate in democracy as 21st century, digital citizens.

But, I really worry that all too often, we as teachers may be quicker to write off these potentials: do we ever silently assess the latest show-stealing effort from the class clown as political potential?? Do we adhere to a model of the “Good Student” and does that prototype even endorse leadership skills to begin with?

I tend to view this kind of future leader as more of the student who will grow up to be what’s become known as the Dangerous Thinker.

Dangerous Thinkers tend not to tow the conventional line, challenging and questioning what they are being exposed to and taught about, not happy with complacency. Those that expose teachers as the frauds we often are or can be.

I was one of those. At school, I openly challenged and scoffed over the appeal offered by the slightly creepy, Mr. Knightley : i.e. the family-friend and advisor, turned marital soulmate to the title character in Jane Austen’s, Emma. My argument: no one could resist the anonymous gifting of a pianoforte such as the efforts of the charismatic “player”, Frank Churchill.

This was an unacceptable way of thinking. I was scolded for my “intimidatory tactics” exercised in classroom discussion and loathed openly by the whole English faculty: a regrettable position given that I undertook 4 units of English for HSC.

I digress (what’s new?) but I guess what I believe is that ALL the kids that we work with own a certain potential to eloquently and respectfully, challenge the status quo.

We need to facilitate students as engineers of dangerous ideas and encourage a sense of urgency to be heard…


prof_pic 4

Nothing new: My Year 12 class recognised my bad habit…

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