Despite being very tempted to blog about the strikes today, I shall resist as I’ve come off pretty lightly today! Tomorrow however might be a different story.
Today’s blog is inspired by an excellent thing I heard from a very distinguished professor called David Halpin. He talked about hope and hope in education in particular.
After the talk, there was a little time for discussion and if time hadn’t stopped us, I think the whole room would’ve carried on chatting all day. Put 40 people passionate about tackling social mobility and equalling the playing field in education then put an expert in education in the room and we won’t shut up unless you make us.
There was some really interesting things said and by all means, these are 100% my interpretations of David’s paper and you should go and read it for yourself.
The first point was that hope isn’t about thinking everything will change and be perfect. He said that hope boiled down to three very essential stages:
Hope is not about the blind leading the blind, or even worse, thinking things are so bad that there’s nothing we can do about it. If there’s something we hope to do or hope to change then it takes persistence, a bit of realism and a culture of encouraging solutions.
I loved the way he categorised two types of people that stand in the way of change. I wish I could remember exactly how he phrased the first but it was along the lines of ‘Optimistic Idealists‘ and the second was ‘Melancholy Pessimists‘. Neither lend themselves well to creating something from hope. Some people just believe change is going to happen and others just think things are so bad that no matter what we do, it will never get better.
I know a lot of ‘melancholy pessimists’ and I’m on a mission to weave them out of my life or at least influence them enough to try and find the positives in things. However, as David went on to say, hope also has enemies.
The three main enemies that stand in the way of hope and change are:
– Cynicism: Well we all know a lot of them. They are the ultimate skeptics, and they believe that we can’t be doing something that isn’t for our own self-interest or to scam them out of something. I know so many of them.
– Fatalism: Equally, I know a fair few of these too. The worst will happen. If you change that it will all go wrong. You’re going to ruin the system. Don’t implement change – the last time we tried it all went to shit. Well maybe somethings changed since then or maybe we’ve learnt since? It often tends to lead to indecisiveness and nothing ever changing.
– Fundamentalism: Ah my favourite. We’ve always done it this way and so that’s the way it will be. This reminds me so much of my old Head of Department and my best friend Helen. She refused to plan in the arbitrary way that everyone else had to do it. My head of department hated her – but guess what? Helen is a great teacher and she did it her own way. I respect that.
Essentially, hope is so important in life and if there is hope that things will change, then they might just with the right kind of thinking. As a charity, we have hope built into everything we do or else – why else would we be doing it?
I’ll leave you with a great quote that David left us with from Anthony Giddins: ‘you discover more about a person when you learn about his hopes than when you count his achievements, for the best of what we are lies in what we hope to be.’
Positive of the day: I spent the day sitting in one of the best viewing points in all of London.