I was talking to a friend about the people that made a real difference for me while I was in undergrad. They weren’t the tutors but the support staff;
The security guy Dom, who knew everyones names, a few sentences in their language and would spot when you weren’t feeling great or hadn’t been in the studio for a while.
The technicians Abi and Bim. Abi would give you a tutorial when you wanted to make something but weren’t sure (he saved so many projects). He’d help you design something so beautiful and ingenious, then you’d take it to Bim to look at how you could actually make it. He’d simplify it.
They were the people that gave people hope and put smiles on their faces everyday, and they didn’t need to get recognition to do that.
You can make a difference whatever your role :).
“Fashion is very important to me; it’s a platform for me to express myself. My clothes need to represent what I want to say before I actually speak, as fashion is the only way I can defend myself before I open my mouth. Paris is so judgmental and conservative—especially when you’re black—so clothes were the tool I could use to get people’s attention, to be seen as cool and to get my chance. Here in France, I’m part of the first generation born to African immigrants. We don’t have a lot of black lawyers or black doctors yet, so having a black designer doing things you don’t expect is unusual. As a black shoe designer, I’ve got a purpose: I need to show what’s possible. I’m trying to push the culture forward and break boundaries.” Camille Tanoh, interview with Kinfolk
As a relatively recent graduate taking the self employed path I absolutely love living in Glasgow. Coming from London with it’s hectic pace and extremely ambitious citizens Glasgow has been a refreshing, eye opening change. Here’s why I love this city.
Glasgow’s a “nursery for ideas, people, careers” as my friend says, and I would add it’s a nursery for conversations. With very little money you can get your idea started up, there’s space to test it, enough of a mass of people to get traction and no rush for it to succeed.
There is a DIY spirit that is entrenched in this city. The Glasgow Effect (the cities unexplained poor health and low life expectancy disparities) and the Glasgow Miracle (the cities booming creative industry) makes for an interesting juxtaposition. It’s a beautiful breeding ground for creative solutions. I have never met so many socially conscious people as in Glasgow!
Support is accessible here. It’s a small enough city where the networks are close, everyone seems to know someone who knows someone. It’s small enough to bump into people randomly. You can strike up a random conversation that lead to great collaborations.
Living costs are low, so you can have a great lifestyle with relatively little income. This frees up more time to work on passion projects. If you want to start a business, there are enough empty spaces for creative use of space. There are so many projects turning Glasgows empty sites into community hubs, like the Stalled Spaces initiative.
Lastly I love this city because of it’s pace. It’s big enough that there is a lot happening but small enough that it’s not overwhelming (you can actually see the outskirts of the city!) Unlike London where change is rapid, streets change in a matter of months here change is slow enough to be appreciated. Finnieston now one of Glasgow’s trendiest areas has been up and coming for more than a decade!
As a freelance creative Glasgow is a nursery for ideas, people and conversations. I love this city 🙂
Could watch this all day! 100 years of beauty around the world.
Inspiring article by Jodi Grant on After School Alliance about Finlands world leading education system. It goes against the standard idea of what education should be. They focus on the importance of play, choicem there are no private schools, tough teacher selection process and little testing. And they have one of the best education systems in the world. Amazing!
By Jodi Grant
This post was co-written by our Excutive Director Jodi Grant and STEM Policy Director Anita Krishnamurthi.
Last month we were delighted to be invited to attend a breakfast at the Finnish Embassy featuring Dr. Pali Sahlberg, the director of the Center for International Mobility and Cooperation in Helsinki; Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers; and Roberto Rodriguez, special assistant to the president on education. Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss moderated the panel.
Finland has been receiving a flurry of attention from education stakeholders and reformers for consistently standing out as one of the strongest school systems in the world. We were eager to hear what the Finns thought was the key to their success.
Dr. Sahlberg began by saying that Finland never set out to be the best, they just wanted to improve and do better by their children. This benchmark comes from a philosophically different place than the international competition that drives most of our debate on this issue. He proceeded to describe the other social issues Finland has worked on to ensure children and youth have a fair shot: their child poverty rate is 4 percent, compared to 22 percent in the United States; they are ranked first in child health and well-being while the United States is ranked 29th; and, their income inequality is also much lower. He also stressed that equity played a major role in their re-think—they determined that the notion of private schools where people can opt out of the system and private funding of education is not compatible with an equitable system. Consequently, there are no privately funded schools in Finland. Finland also boasts an incredibly selective teacher recruitment and training process. Only 5 percent of applicants are selected for a master’s program in education, which is required to become a teacher.
As the U.S. debates how long our school days should be, Finland offers a sobering example of why that cannot be the only solution. Children in Finland do not start school until they are 7 because the Finns believe that learning to play is extremely important—it teaches children how to get along with each other, to pay attention and focus, and to be imaginative—all qualities they think are essential to child and youth development. The country has one of the shortest school days around, teachers give minimal homework and testing is rare. They strongly believe that you test a small sample of schools to see how well a model is working and you ask the teachers to assess how the students are doing. One of the points Dr. Sahlberg made that really resonated was “Accountability is what is left when responsibility is taken away.”
The Finns strongly believe that children need to have opportunities outside of school and academics to develop into healthy, well-adjusted adults. Seventy percent of their students participate in activities run by NGOs that offer sports, music, art and other enrichment activities (and he expressed grave concern that this number was not higher!). They fully believe that these activities have merit on their own and should be separate from the school day—he actually mentioned the words “youth development” several times! Sadly, in the United States less than 20 percent of our children are in afterschool programs, and youth development is not valued as highly as it is in Finland. Afterschool programs are under constant pressure to demonstrate how they impact academic success of students.
Dr. Sahlberg spoke at length about the difference between Finland’s approach and that of the Global Education Reform Movement, which he abbreviates to “GERM.”
|Global Education Reform Movement (GERM)||FINLAND|
|School Choice||Equity—all schools receive public funding and legislation forces them to collaborate. They don’t compete against one another|
|Test-Based Accountability||Trust-Based Professionalism|
We left the breakfast feeling both elated and depressed. Finland shows what is possible—they set out to improve a failing system and have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. There are clearly lessons from Finland that support all the great things our afterschool programs are providing to American students in the hours after school. There are clearly lessons learned from Finland that can help us demonstrate the value of the informal nature of the afterschool space. There are clearly multiple ways to measure our students’ success that do not rely on test scores. But there are also clearly some big barriers and challenges ahead and for now none of the real lessons from Finland are in policy maker’s textbooks.
Should is not an active word