What is a meme? Wikipedia says:
The British scientist Richard Dawkins coined the word “meme” in The Selfish Gene (1976) as a concept for discussion of evolutionary principles in explaining the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena. Examples of memes given in the book included melodies, catch-phrases, fashion, and the technology of building arches.
I first came across the term, last century, while reading The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History (1994) by Howard Bloom. The author’s thesis was that nation states, tribes and other social units are “superorganisms” bound by memes, which are our shared ideas that provide the glue that binds.
The RSA Animate video of Sir Ken Robinson’s ideas, re: the need for a changed education paradigm, is the kind of meme that, spread by the internet, can rapidly make people ‘see’ differently. Like climate change, we reach ‘tipping point’ and more people believe, or at least are aware of the concept, than are not.
Then we have the challenge of actually doing something!
When tipping point is reached re: Sir Ken’s thesis, about the impact of the unchanging factory model of education, then what?
I am having a very busy patch at the moment; giving two conference keynotes and 4 workshops in 5 days to principals, executive members and teachers in both primary and high school, across sectors, public and private. I am finding the audiences interesting. I reckon things are changing. I feel it in my waters. Teachers are seeing differently, or at least, are open to doing things differently.
Now we just need some ‘big picture’ vision from state, national and education authorities that goes beyond the ‘more of the same’ paradigm that Sir Ken discusses more fully here.
Don’t get frustrated…keep talking…and more, keep agitating for change that will assist kids to lead full, creative lives of hope and joy. Don’t let the factory, or others acceptance of the conveyor belt grind you down.
Even if you think I am being overly optimistic and you see the horizon bobbing with reductionist standardised testing regimes, poor funding or curriculum design that is outdated before it is rubber stamped, it is important to keep reading, talking, creating, sharing and enthusing colleagues, parents and students.
Malcolm Gladwell (thanks Wikipedia) says:
“A meme is an idea that behaves like a virus – that moves through a population, taking hold in each person it infects.”
Do some infecting, I say!