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We're not 'Standard'

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Alice is a builder of driftwood towers.

When you construct something with driftwood each piece has to ‘talk’ with the other pieces, or the tower falls down. It’s organic and irregular, and is quite like people.

Alices drift wood
Driftwood cone by Alice Wilson Milne. To discover more, check out ‘Two Wings to Fly – an insider’s guide to creativity and innovation’, Alice’s new book – available from the TLC shop.

Education is like this too. We have to be ourselves, and at the same time we have to find a way to be relevant to others.

When we get this right the outcome is a win/win. We can keep our own unique ‘shape’ and still connect with others – the larger, and invisible, human tower.

Of course, a person is more complex than a piece of drift wood, because everything in human structures is constantly wriggling and changing (while changes in driftwood are slow).

Unfortunately our education was shaped by industry and students can often end up feeling they are being treated as ‘standard’ – like pieces of Lego. School sometimes look like factories too, (or office buildings). They even run like factories with complicated time tables, a lot of supervision and an endless emphasis on ‘compliance’.

Industrial standards are not ideal and the people wastage is terrible. For a large number (we don’t know exactly how large) schools don’t work. Many of us learn in spite of schools rather than because of them.

(There are plenty of great teachers who are just as frustrated by the system as we are).

The easy part is to look at the first principle. Everyone is different and there is a place for everyone in the wider community. The harder part is to make this happen. That’s why TLC chose to break into our reserves and pioneer New Zealand’s new suite of Creativity programmes.

We do it for those who don’t fit the factory model. TLC and creativity offer a very practical alternative. Spread the word!

- Jonathan Milne


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