Column: ‘Bermuda Becoming Learning Society’

September 30, 2016

[Opinion column written by Glenn Fubler]

There is nothing more important to any society than the quality of education provided. This speaks to the facilitation of formal and informal learning; unlocking the potential of the most important resource of any country; its people.

There is an ongoing conversation across the Globe on the effectiveness of systems of education. This will be addressed here in Bermuda, over the weekend.

On Saturday, October 1st from 9.30am – 2.30 pm, the Bermuda Union of Teachers [BUT] will host its first Bi-Annual ‘UnConference’ at Berkeley Institute on the theme: Is there disequilibrium with the current structures of schooling and…are [they] best suited to meet the needs of today’s learners and tomorrow’s future.

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Already 150 educators have registered to participate with the goal to ‘..collectively generate solutions and propose novel ideas…to meet noticeable shortcomings of the traditional model of education.

Ken Robinson, a former Professor at the University of Warwick who was subsequently Knighted for leading a U.K. commission: “All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education”, has been calling for the transformation of the traditional model of education systems for two decades.

He has been able to demonstrate that the current model, founded during the Industrial Revolution, needs to shift in order to empower schools, teachers and especially students.

Leaders of the BUT are responding to this Global movement for a rebirth – a renaissance – of education systems. They are ‘walking the talk’; recognizing Robinson’s seminal point that meaningful change best takes place ‘from the bottom up’.

Note that the union is promoting this as an ‘UnConference’, since they will not use the traditional ‘top-down’ format of most conferences; as attendees are being invited to engage in a shared collaboration.

This session is being scheduled just a couple of weeks before the BUT’s traditional Professional Development ‘conference’ that the union has been hosting for more than thirty years, with the cooperation with the Ministry of Education.

I am familiar with this, since I chaired the committee that organized the first such Conference back in 1983. For those first few years, we had the cooperation of the Ministry in organizing a conference for the entire teaching body with the goal of renewal at the beginning of the new school year.

We did gain some success in that regard, but the planned ‘UnConference’ takes it a step further. In this case teachers will attend voluntarily, as they address some more fundamental questions that potentially prepare the groundwork, promoting dialogue towards a societal shift in our system of education.

In these times, it is increasingly clear that the process of education is life-long. The revolution in technology has opened free access into research and innovative learning from the most sought-after sources. As we take time to applaud the BUT and the champion of this project – Tamicia Darrell- for taking this initiative, we are all called to involve ourselves in the wider conversation about education.

We are all stakeholders in education, as we recognize the life-giving potential of learning. While most of us will not be joining the UnConference, we can all consider how we might get involved in the Big Picture, by working towards Bermuda truly becoming a Learning Society.

- Glenn Fubler


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  1. Nanny Pat says:

    How about we improve the education we offer by hiring THE BEST applicants for teacher positions regardless of passport?