Rant One: Walk
What the point of the West Highland Way?
Why would anyone want to walk 96 miles?
What’s the F’ing point of that? It’s not even a recognised Pilgrimaged.
And it’s in Scotland – you don’t even get a tan???
So what if you can walk 96 miles – who cares? What does it matter? You get this certificate at the end – but why does anyone need a certificate?
Mile after mile of path – never ending roads into the distance
The devils staircase XXXXXX
The long road into Kinlochleven and Fort William -
Body getting sorer by the mile
Feet - Blisters – burning soles
WHAT IS THE POINT?
Chaffing – Vaseline – Talcum Powder – Savlon
Weather – Sun, Rain, Heat, Cold,
Midges – spray – bites – not being able to stop
WHY PUT YOURSELF THROUGH THIS?
NO reward – All you have is an end goal – and its Fort William. They put you through hell and give you Fort William as a reward.
BUT WE ALSO HELD HANDS – SOMETHING HAPPENDED TO SOME OF US WHEN WE HELD HANDS. I WOULD LIKE YOU ALL TO FIND SOMEONE TO HOLD HANDS WITH. THERE IS NO PRESSURE TO DO THIS. BUT IF YOU DON’T WANT TO – ASK YOURSELF WHY NOT? WHAT STOPS YOU? WHY DO YOU NOT FEEL THE NEED? WE ARE GOING TO DO THIS FOR 4 MINS – I HAVE SOME PHOTOS. YOU CAN SPEAK TO YOUR PARTNER.
RANT 2: LIVING IN HOSTELS – JUST TO COMPLETE THE WALK
Why would anyone want to live alongside strangers in old, smelly hostels?
Beds – matress – others peoples sweat
Snoring – smelly socks and pants
Single beds – SMALL single beds. Feet bang off bottom rungs
Cooking alongside a bunch of teenagers from the West End of Glasgow and their recorder playing teacher. PROBLEMS OF KITCHEN LIFE.
RELAXING AND trying to work – load, noisy etc
Eating breakfast with the strangers you spent all of yesterday and all of today and all of tomorrow – no escape?
Why would anyone put there self through this?
BUT WE ALSO STARTED TO RENAME THINGS – WE ASKED OURSELF TO RENAME THE TRESS – THE SKY – THE MOUNTAINS – THE ROADS. WE STARTED TO WONDER WHY THINGS ARE THE WAY THEY ARE? ARE THE RULES ALWAYS RIGHT?
LETS RENAME SOME THINGS TOGETHER:
RANT 3: STUCK WITH SAME PEOPLE – JUST TO COMPLETE THE WALK?
Why would anyone chose to spend 5 days with a group of strangers
Different backgrounds – Different opinions – same stories
No escape – making all decisions together
Seeing their blisters – hearing about their chaffing – thankfully not seeing it
Over and over again – people you would have walked past in the street
Forever Talking and Speaking
Trying to stay friends
Trying to Stay positive
Exposing your vulnerabilities and trying not to upset others
Listening and Talking
Conversations to fill time
BUT SOMETIMES WE FEEL SILENT. SOMETIMES WE WALKED BY OURSELF. SOMETIMES WE CHOSE TO LISTEN TO WHAT WE SAW AROUND US.
I would like us to stop for a moment and close your eyes – We are going to fall silent for 5mins.
Our dangerous idea was to find an alternative to CPD – so we decide to walk the West Highland Way as Strangers?
But what’s dangerous about walking? The paths are formed, the route is marked, the destination is set.
Our success criteria is easy to measure – if we complete every mile we pass. If we don’t we fail. It is easy.
Mathew Failed. Alison was a Failure. So was Naomi. Frank was an out and out fail. Keith was the biggest failure (he didn’t even start with us).
I passed. So did the two Johns, and Alan, and Diane and Eileen, and Mountain Paul and Audrey, so did Stevie.
What’s dangerous about walking the West Highland Way? If we know what the learning intention – it is easy. We move from A to B. If we succeed we get a certificate. But what do we learn?
· We learn when we push our self or are pushed by others out with our comfort zone. Even though it’s painful and you don’t understand why and it’s sometime terrifying. We learn we ask our self – what stops me, why not?
· When learn when we unsettle the rules. Even a tree can be called something else if we imagine it can.
· We learn by holding hands with someone despite not knowing why? We begin to understand that touch brings us closer to together.
· We learn to trust another human as we are led blindfolded through an unknown world? Fear soon becomes comforting.
· We learn resilience when trying to move a mountain one stone at a time?
· We learn that not answering questions with an answer is difficult? Why as educators do we feel to constantly answer the question posed by the student – ask them a question to help them find the answer.
· We learn that a presentation can take many forms? Do we always need a powerpoint? Does it always involve us staying in a classroom?
· We learn what a college might look like in the future by re-imaging the one in Fort William after a deadly terrorist attack
· We learn that time pressure makes us panic and that defaults us back to the what we know – not what we believe? Lack of space and time to think and collaborate is deadly.
· We learn that storytelling is crucial when structuring learning – we learn from the passion in others stories?
· We learn that the final destination should not be the mark of what we have learn. How to apply our experience perhaps becomes more important.
So how do we change the landscape?
So how do we change the landscape?
How do we move a mountain one stone at a time?
How do we challenge the learning criteria within the assessment guidelines?
How do we change the way colleges are structured to nurture radical approaches to learning?
I wish we had found the answer to these questions over our 5 days walking the West Highland Way. But maybe that would be too easy. Maybe our manifesto would stifle the abundance of creativity and innovation in colleges throughout Scotland. Maybe it’s not our job to tell you how to change.
We are still process what we have learned – we imagine this will take some time.
What we do know – the most dangerous thing is to believe everything is fixed. We walked through a landscape formed over millions of years. A land shaped from fiery volcanos and frozen ice. But we still managed to change it – one stone at a time.
We decided to spend a day picking up a stone and moving it a mile. Then picking up another one and carrying it.
Did this move a mountain – no. Would anyone walking the path today notice – probably not. Do I still have the stone I carried on the final day – yes. Things change because we do. To remain the same and not take the risk of accepting change is terrifying.
I have my stone here. I don’t know what good it will do to pass it to someone in the room but not offering it means I stick by the rules. Does anyone want to take this stone from me?