#22 another brick in the wall

022/365 another brick in the wall, originally uploaded by rosipaw.

Today’s Daily Shoot also became the theme of my 365 photo:

“Let’s have some fun on a Friday. Make a photo that goes with the title (or lyrics) of a song. Interpret away!”

Another ordinary day at school, in the familiar red-brick environment. I am thinking what is the state and purpose of education today. I’m sure many students would still sign Pink Floyd’s message of not needing any education from back in 1979. At least not the same old, numbing and repetitive, factory style.

Aren’t schools still too often working like the meat grinder in the brilliant Gerald Scarfe animation of the song where kids are dropped only to spew out uniform minced meat at the other end? Is there any space for individual thinking, learning methods and goals, or chances for each individual to realize their full potential? Why does it seem that the spark, the passion, the joy and creativity are all buried and forgotten inside these walls? Can our students, in their bright pink and red coats, be themselves, and not just other bricks in the wall?

By the way, there is a Finnish expression ‘counting the ends of bricks’, meaning to serve a prison sentence. Sometimes, for me as a teacher, the brick school seems prison-like, too. There are too many outside pressures, constrictions, national assessments and rigid attitudes, which tie my hands. Then again, I shouldn’t complain too much, since compared to colleagues in other countries, I probably have considerably more autonomy and freedom. I have just talked about this with Tania in Australia, a wonderful edublogger and also photo-blogger, who was my inspirator for this photo project.

My other song title option for this picture was Paramore’s ‘Brick by boring brick’, but I chose the good old classic.


3 Responses to “#22 another brick in the wall”

  1. January 24, 2010 at 00:00

    Wow, you’re so kind to say that, Sinikka. Just made my day! I think I commented somewhere that I’ve found this year’s photo blogs even more enriching in terms of connecting and learning from others, and I rush to look at your blog every morning. We may even create a project with @colemama – and all from a simple daily photo post which often sparks thoughtful commentary and fascinating information.

    I agree with what you say about education; it looks like many of us feel similarly, but we are scattered all over the world, and not always found in the same schools. I do know, however, that most of our teachers are taken up with providing assessment, and this often gets in the way of more meaningful learning. A great pity.

    Your students wear bright pink and red jackets! Well, my sons’ uniforms were brown!! Not even as bright as your bricks. This year my youngest son in going into year 10 in a different school, a performing arts school, and is looking forward to no uniform.

    I think the themes result in rich commentary.

  2. 2 sinikka
    January 24, 2010 at 12:32

    It’s the same here, assessment and exam pressures take the best out of students and teachers. For me, though, I’d get totally fed up with routine work if I didn’t try new things and have a go at innovating at times.

    Yes, school uniforms have never existed here. Whenever we talk about this in my English classes, my students seem absolutely horrified at the mere idea! They couldn’t imagine not expressing their personality through their clothes. Mind you, I usually point out that youth fashions of any season more or less seem like a uniform anyway, and not many stand out from the crowd, but they don’t agree with me.

    Sometimes I wish there was a teacher’s uniform so that I wouldn’t have the problem of deciding what to wear for work each morning 🙂

    Like you, I really enjoy the commentary and discussions that I have had the good fortune to find through this photo challenge. I can only thank you, Tania, for all this! Isn’t the net just wonderful!

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