Leading questions

The Unfolding symposium in Driebergen — rather than look for applications of scholarly knowledge — will start from questions about the nature of interaction and learning, as generated by examples of inspiring practice with regard to the first three questions and with a panel discussion to address the fourth question.  Participants will participate in round table discussions along with other key actors in educational transformation, and these discussions will be synthesized by table hosts and knowledgeable speakers.

What will be the leading questions?
A new grammar and vocabulary

What will be the leading questions?

How do children experience their world holistically, in the flow of their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions?

This overarching question is refined into four questions that have to be answered if we want educational provision to attain a quality that addresses people’s well-being and their shared responsibility for other people and the environment.

Leading questions for the four chapters

The dialogue during each of the chapters is guided by the four leading questions, see below. It is important to recognise that the dialogue at the tables doesn’t necessarily has to lead to a solution.

  1. How do we perceive children’s well-being as they grow up and take responsibility, and what qualities of interactions are important to guide the development of children?
  2. What does it ask from professionals in education to guide our children’s development within educational institutions and how should they prepare professionally for this? How do they perceive their responsibility?
  3. How should we, starting from the assumptions we have formulated earlier with regard to the quality of interaction that is needed in the school, and about what is asked of professionals, understand the school as an organisation, and how should we perceive educational leadership?
  4. Given the growing influence of social and educational sciences on current practice in schools and teacher education, what do we perceive as relevant knowledge, that can be offered to the daily realities encountered in the educational world, for teachers as actors and as professionals who strive to improve themselves? What are the most fruitful ways in which this knowledge can be ‘created’ or arrived at?

A new grammar and vocabulary

Synthesising and aggregating from the four chapters, the overarching questions of the symposium have to do with our quest for a new ‘grammar and vocabulary’ for the conversation about good education.

Our main guiding question here is:

  • In what way can this (new) body of knowledge help identify a grammar of meanings (goals, beliefs, convictions, central concepts) in the practice of education, as carried out by teachers, principeals and teacher educators, corresponding with the perceived responsibility they have? And what is the vocabulary in which the identified meanings are expressed?

 

The examples from practice in the movie clips offer key moments: short ‘vignettes’, that relate tot key concepts, like trust, connection, or responsibility. These broad key concepts could together provide a new structure, that constitues a new grammar, from which the ‘new rules’ are constructed that guide the development of processes of good education. This also encompasses the image we hold of what education is for, what we are aspiring to achieve with it.

And each of these broad concepts can have different meanings for different people, according to time, role and context. That means that we all use different language (sometimes literally) to give meaning to these key concepts. The new vocabulary we seek to explore, can be found in these languages, in the words we use.

Again, we are not looking for a blueprint. There is no final answer to what the definitive set of key concepts (as a new grammar) should be, or which language (as a new vocabulary) is ‘wrong’, or which language is ‘right’. What we aim to explore is how we can use these concepts and these languages to arrive at an alternative way of reflecting on good education, a way of reflection and deliberation that acknowledges the complexity and uniqueness of the ‘educational event.’