I recently attended the Unleashing Learning #2 conference organized and hosted by Mount Scopus. This is a conference by educators for educators. I noted that the conference had a different format, no keynote speakers, but these were replaced by a comprehensive variety of workshops and each day commenced and finished with inspirational talks. Was I inspired? Yes!
What can I share here that might spark your curiosity? What hook or new understanding has encouraged further reflection?
One notion, concept, idea that arose from Stephanie Thompson’s workshop was equity. Stephanie demonstrated how she collects data and uses this data to inform the culture of thinking in her classroom.
What is equity in the classroom?
Is it visible?
How does it differ from equality?
How did this concept relate to the other workshops?
Were there links to equity in ‘teacher talk’ during the conference.
Equality is treating all the same. Equity in education is where students are provided with what they need to be successful. What pedagogy has inbuilt equity?
‘Teacher talk’ is where educators learn from each other and not surprisingly equity came up in many of those discussions. One teacher talked about ‘lean in’ assessment… knowing a student, their story, their strengths and struggles. Another talked about being a ‘warm demander’. Having high expectations, differentiating the curriculum and making learning visible. All discussed the importance of planning and providing a program of learning which could be accessed by all learners. A program which allows students to respond using their learning tools and strengths.
Differentiating the curriculum, visible learning and allowing students to engage in learning using their own tools is fundamental to an education which intrinsically values equity. Equity includes the opportunity for students to show their understanding in ways they choose and to explore their interests.
Lieserl, daughter of Albert Einstein gave 1,400 letters written by her father to the Hebrew University. Below is a letter from Einstein to his daughter.
“When I proposed the theory of relativity, very few understood me, and what I will reveal now to transmit to mankind will also collide with the misunderstanding and prejudice in the world.
I ask you to guard the letters as long as necessary, years, decades, until society is advanced enough to accept what I will explain below.
There is an extremely powerful force that, so far, science has not found a formal explanation to. It is a force that includes and governs all others, and is even behind any phenomenon operating in the universe and has not yet been identified by us.
This universal force is LOVE.
When scientists looked for a unified theory of the universe they forgot the most powerful unseen force.
Love is Light, that enlightens those who give and receive it.
Love is gravity, because it makes some people feel attracted to others.
Love is power, because it multiplies the best we have, and allows humanity not to be extinguished in their blind selfishness. Love unfolds and reveals.
For love we live and die.
Love is God and God is Love.
This force explains everything and gives meaning to life. This is the variable that we have ignored for too long, maybe because we are afraid of love because it is the only energy in the universe that man has not learned to drive at will.
To give visibility to love, I made a simple substitution in my most famous equation.
If instead of E = mc2, we accept that the energy to heal the world can be obtained through love multiplied by the speed of light squared, we arrive at the conclusion that love is the most powerful force there is, because it has no limits.
After the failure of humanity in the use and control of the other forces of the universe that have turned against us, it is urgent that we nourish ourselves with another kind of energy…
If we want our species to survive, if we are to find meaning in life, if we want to save the world and every sentient being that inhabits it, love is the one and only answer.
Perhaps we are not yet ready to make a bomb of love, a device powerful enough to entirely destroy the hate, selfishness and greed that devastate the planet.
However, each individual carries within them a small but powerful generator of love whose energy is waiting to be released.
When we learn to give and receive this universal energy, dear Lieserl, we will have affirmed that love conquers all, is able to transcend everything and anything, because love is the quintessence of life.
I deeply regret not having been able to express what is in my heart, which has quietly beaten for you all my life. Maybe it’s too late to apologize, but as time is relative, I need to tell you that I love you and thanks to you I have reached the ultimate answer! “
Your father Albert Einstein