I am generally quite an opinionated person. By this, I mean that generally I like to evaluate views and arguments, and have what I considered to be a justified opinion on them; I think apathy is a vice. I’m also (I hope) quite reasonable overall, and change my mind on things relatively frequently, when faced with new arguments, evidence, and so on. Having said this, anyone who knows me at all will testify to the fact that I have knee-jerk reactions to things, and also, I’m very sensitive and get upset and hurt quite easily. If I were going to write a blog, therefore, I could see it going something like this: I’d voice an opinion, and explain my reasons for it. Someone would leave a comment (if anyone even read the post) and if it was in any way critical, I’d get unreasonably upset. (I’m the kind of teacher who could do a student survey and have 99% of students say that they loved my lessons and felt that they learnt a lot, and I’d be unable to deal with the fact that 1% didn’t say this.) Anyway, after a while (days, weeks, or maybe months later), I’d be able to see the comment in a more dispassionate light, and I’d either decide that the commenter was right and I’d change my opinion, or I’d decide that their point wasn’t very strong and I’d just move on.
The thing is, this process has two downsides: firstly, I end up getting frequently upset (potentially), and secondly, if I change my mind about something, my original view is still ‘out there’ somewhere, which isn’t ideal.
Knowing all of this, I’ve decided I’m going to write anyway. I’m not really sure why, but I suppose mainly it’s because I do have opinions on things, and I want to join in the big conversation that is the blogosphere.
My job now is to try and decide on what topic I want to write first. I realised, as soon as I started thinking about this, that it was going to be nearly impossible to pick because whatever I wrote about, I could hear the counter-arguments that would immediately follow the post – and so I found myself wanting to start with defences of those points, and then it all got a bit complicated and expansive. As an illustration: I wrote a comment on Harry Webb’s blog about why I do like using flipped learning. Given that it was only a comment and not a dissertation, I couldn’t very well lay out my whole philosophy of education, and so someone who wrote back and (politely and reasonably) argued against me, seemed to assume that I (or at least, teachers who use flipped classrooms in general) was supportive of the idea that 21st century education is all about skills rather than knowledge, and ‘engagement’ and ‘independent learning’ rather than direct instruction, and so on. This is really not the case at all, and I found myself wanting to write back a tome on my whole philosophy of education, which itself actually reflects my philosophy in general, i.e. my views on the meaning of life, the universe, and everything; and this was all just to make one point about flipped learning (which was that I felt it had worked very well in my particular circumstances). As I see it, all truth is interconnected and it’s sometimes very difficult to talk about one aspect of it without bringing in a large number of other ideas.
I suppose, really, that this experience has given me the answer. I should attempt to outline what I believe to be the truth in general, since my views on religion, philosophy, education in general, and religious/philosophical education (the topics on which I’m most likely to write) flow from this framework. Doing this throws up its own problems because my philosophical and religious views are obviously open to criticism and maybe any conversation will never get past that point; but as I said, this is just an experiment, just an attempt to join in the conversation. Que sera, sera.