Every question opens a space. A space to explore, a field to learn, a new perspective in life.
Only a couple of days ago I spoke of heroes. This past week I lost one of my heroes. This was a different kind of loss. Not the loss of a parent or child, a friend or mentor but someone who opened new ways of thinking for me, new ways of doing and learning. He was an icon to many, an inspiration and visionary. More than believe in change, he valued change and had a passion for innovation. Through his company’s products I too innovated, learning new skills and in the process changed many features of my own learning process.
My first desktop was a MAC. It lingers in a quiet, shaded corner, too beautiful with its elegant grey lines, too significant to me to be mindlessly thrown away. That was over 20 years ago. Today I sit here, multi-tasking, focused, at times, mind adrift, surrounded by Apple. It is no irony that while I started my day with a kick of caffeine and reading the day’s headlines, that the news stared coldly and blankly at me. An expected loss, perhaps. Yet the space of loss is different to the spaces opened by questioning. All loss is a hiatus.
Throughout that day I stole moments of silence and reflection. An icon of popular culture, a necessary reference when I taught at business schools and trained in companies, Steve Jobs made me love technology with the MACs – computers not only to perform typing tasks but later, to connect. So much has been written about Steve Jobs; in fact, in our age of connected nodes it is almost impossible to ignore the tsunami of articles in praise or criticism offered. This is neither.
With the demise of a hero, I turn from company culture, from innovative design and technology back to education, questioning where the inspirational leaders in education are; those who have vision, those who through love of learning, through love of life, connect with those who are to be inspired and motivated. Teachers provide a tremendous service to their communities. There are many teachers who I could name as being great, inspirational models but each learning context needs a leader of their own. Each context is different, unique, hence educational leadership needs to be both global and local for it to make any sense.
Richard Branson reminds readers of the passion that Steve Jobs always had for Apple – no matter how ill he was. Which brings me to how does practice relate to theory in the context of learning.
Passion and belief are determining in the learning process. Without them, there are no questions, no opening of spaces. Without inquiry there is no living. Without connecting there is no learning.
This is a learning thread unravelling.