In this edition:
✍🏼 Reform, revolution and reimagining - editorial by Danu
🎙 Living life out of sequence, with engagement and experience leader Grace Liaw | Still Curious S2E11
🪧 Community Notices - News and announcements from grokkists and fellow travellers
🍬 Snackables - assorted awesome links
📩 Subscribe to get the Grokkist Scholé Supplement in your inbox every two weeks.
✍🏼 Reform, revolution and reimagining
I often talk about reimagining education, but what do I mean by that exactly?
Let’s first contrast reimagining with two other R words – reform and revolution. And let’s assume that what all three approaches have in common is a desire to bring about something better than what currently exists.
I think about reform as working to change things from inside the system, while revolution seeks to bring about change from outside the system, often by replacing the system.
(You might think about these concepts differently, and that's fine! I'm not claiming a monopoly on the best interpretation.)
Both reform and revolution have their merits and pitfalls. Both stand in relation to ‘the system’ and any ideas for change will inevitably be informed by that relation, even if the nature of that relation is total rejection of the system. For instance, if I call myself a hermit, that identity can only make sense if I have a society from which to isolate myself.
To reimagine is to temporarily give ourselves permission to forget the system entirely for a while. It's to step safely to one side for a moment and focus instead on the practice we are engaged with and that we care about, free of our familiar starting assumptions.
On one level, it’s a bit like the act of getting a new phone and starting fresh without importing all our old apps and settings. It lets us revisit familiar situations with fresh perspective: what do I really need here? How shall I arrange things differently this time? What will I keep and what will I change? What will I try to avoid?
Inevitably of course, after a few months, our fresh new phone will start to look a lot like our old one. Such is the nature of existence.
But the point for now is not about what happens later. The point is the imaginative exercise itself – the opportunity to think afresh about the questions that matter most for the practice. And crucially, what actions to take to give us the best chance of bringing about the goods at which that practice aims.
In other words, sometimes you just have to Marie Kondo it.
If reform begins from inside what’s going on and revolution approaches it from outside, reimagining is to stand beside. It is a friendly but critical stance to take, like a best friend who sits you down for your own good and makes you confront the patterns and consequences of your choices.
Reimagining is also an exercise in unforgetting why we became friends with the practice we are engaged with in the first place. It is not to tinker around the edges of a dying tradition or to kill it off altogether, but to reconnect with the tradition at its source and, by so doing, breathe new life into it.
What we get from reimagining is clarity.
We can free ourselves from the assumptions and patterns of thought that form the rising banks of a river that always follows the same course.
Reimagining brings us clarity about the purpose of what we are doing – who it’s for and why. Clarity about the direction we are headed and how to tell if that direction is good or bad. Clarity about unconsidered possibilities and alternatives – what if this time we tried it this way instead?
In the end, the goal of clarity is action.
The clarity we get from reimagining provides us with a ready response we can bring back to what is ultimately always the most important ethical question – what will I do here and now?
🎙Still Curious Podcast
A conversation all about doing things in a different way and order than you’re supposed to. Not doing what you’re told, leaning into life’s sudden twists and turns, feeling behind, and taking flight, all while figuring out adulting and navigating the exciting challenges, complexity and expectations of cultural identity.
Unlike most of her peers, Grace did not start her undergraduate studies until turning 28, when she began to pursue a degree in Human Ecology and Family Studies at Montclair State University. Finally fulfilling her dreams of being a teacher, Grace taught in New Jersey public schools for a couple of years and realized that public education was not for her. Later, she found herself living and working in Shanghai, China, for 6 years in various private schools. The experience of doing work, life, and family in a foreign land was absolutely transformative. Grace then pursued a Master of Education at Penn State for Curriculum and Instruction.
Now living in New York, Grace is designing and hosting events, creating experiences, and building relationships with global students at Quantic School of Business & Technology, a virtual business school. She is now able to tick all of the important boxes of connecting, educating, and becoming more culturally intelligent.
Grace hates and loves running, is a novice birder, and is obsessed with Canva. She is also excited to see what the second half of life has in store!
- Having a family at a young age and living life out of sequence with your career-focussed peers
- Starting undergraduate studies at age 28 and catching up
- Becoming a public school teacher and chafing against the system
- Living and working in Shanghai, China as a Chinese-American
- From educator to entrepreneur to engagement leader
Detours and Tangents
- Getting tattoos in a Chinese and Christian family
- Competing with your kids
- Why women need to lift each other up
🪧 Community Notices
News and announcements from grokkists and fellow travellers
News from the grokkist community
Danu spoke as part of a 'Future of Education' panel organised by Quantic School of Business and Technology alongside EdTech Insider founder, Alex Sarlin, and Academic Deputy Head at Colegio Anglo Colombiano, Jack Little. [Recording]
- how our literacy experiences in childhood might impact our understanding of texts in adulthood
- why speakers of different languages need an accommodated UI design
- research data that shows 20% of remote workers say they were reprimanded, demoted, or even fired for miscommunication or misinterpreting digital messages
Nathanology has a new video exploring the blurred lines between education and entertainment and wondering whether it's better to educate with the baggage of institutional frameworks or with the baggage of content platform algorithms.
News from fellow traveller organisations
Assorted awesome links
One to bookmark. A free resource for writers seeking to thoughtfully cover evolving social, cultural, and identity-related topics. Includes a style guide and find-an-expert directory. Here is their style guide entry on 'neurodivergent'.
A brief and entertaining adventure into how swear words gain or lose their offensive qualities over time. Many of the words we consider crude today were once part of everyday conversation, and what is considered obscene has morphed over time from the blasphemous to the scatological.
Charles Cornell is the very embodiment of 'lighting up' when you talk about that thing you love. Here he breaks down what's going on thematically in Michael Giacchino's score for my favourite Pixar movie, Ratatouille.
A forensic psychiatrist and psychotherapist, who ran a therapy group for people who had killed a family member while they were mentally ill, shares the best 5 books she has read that help us understand the mental states that give rise to killing. The takeaway, to darkly paraphrase Ratatouille, is that anyone can kill.
Insta account full of dark and moody urban photography. Recommended for those days when you feel like a candle bravely holding out against the darkness.
Broader feedback is always welcome – what you would most like to see from the Grokkist community? Click the video below or reply to let me know.