I’ve spent much time this week reading Ken Robinson’s Element, if you’re familiar with the TED talk and his recent lectures at the R.S.A. and Specialist School Trust conference, the first section comes as no surprise.
I’m not sure whether I’ve found my element, one for another post, but the chapter on tribes really hit home for me.
He suggests that one part of finding your element is becoming involved with a tribe, people who share your passion.
Finding your tribe offers validation of your interests. People ask why I share what I do, but blog comments, emails and people speaking about how they have used a resource, all provide an indicator that there is purpose to my work. It encourages me further, as a result it also reminds me of my need to validate the work of others. To provide encouragement, and offer advice, when appropriate. Tribes provide a circle of influence that encourage and support innovation.
The tribe also provides interaction with others who share a similar passion, as a result it encourages yourself and others to raise the bar terms of your shared interest, developments come when people build upon the ideas of others. I remember a long time ago feeling excited at finding other individuals online who shared similar viewpoints and interests, I have many teachers who I aspire to, enjoy their work and want to inherit some of their style!
I think are many developments, past and present, that are helping to develop the nature of teaching tribes, particularly within Geography. But, we have to guard against any tribe becoming exclusive, it must be open to all, even those with dissenting views. I wonder about the lack of argument that seems to take place within tribes, dissenting views, even blockers, enable us to evaluate our perspectives from a different position, hence the encourage innovation. As in all communities tribes develop (unconsciously?) a hierarchy, the challenge is for the ‘hierarchy ‘to encourage dissenters /blockers, rather than alienate, as well as new membership and fresh ideas.
The idea of synergy within a tribe is aspirational, the collective minds of the tribe collaborating on a shared project. I think we can see green roots in some areas, I wonder how long before a set of colleagues, from across a wide geographical area, collectively write a whole curriculum, teaching with the same resources, evaluating and adapting as they proceed. It seems madness people working alone…