Crisis of faith


I am once again losing the faith. I have stepped away from the path of true devotion and am floundering on the shoals of doubt.

I am having a crisis of belief as the modules start exploring collaboration, the TL as leader, and :booming echo-y voice: 21st Century Learning (learning… learning)…

My character arc was developing beautifully. Starting as a sceptic about the notion of TL as leader, working my way along the path of dawning realisation of different styles and paths of leadership, embracing the concepts of servant leadership and leading from the middle. I constructed my concept map and my idealised vision of the shining golden city – the Utopia of a Change-Resilient Twenty-First Century school leadership structure. It was a struggle but I was on the road to paradise.

Then my steps began to falter – I hit the Slough of Despond as I felt overwhelmed by the weight of expectations placed on my novice-TL shoulders. And then, plunging into the shining waters of 21st Century Learning and the warning alerts began to sound. Suddenly my doubts and scepticism popped up in front of me. It was as though this roll of the die had landed me on a snake in the game of Snakes and Ladders. With scant warning, I precipitously slid … seemingly back to my starting point once more.

Honestly, I am very conflicted about the whole ’21st Century Learning’ doctrine. I feel as though this is a belief-system regarding what students need to learn and how they are meant to learn it and what spaces best suit this supposedly “new” learning that is not as tried and tested as it presents itself to be. I am plagued by echoes of Dewey’s practical learning theories, the shared open-plan collaborative learning spaces of the 1950s through 1980s (Bradbeer, 2011, pasra. 4). Amidst all the branding of “new”, “innovative”, and “revolutionary” I find myself singing with the Bare Naked Ladies, “It’s all been done before (Warner Records, 2009).”

Barenaked Ladies – It’s All Been Done Before – Warner Records, 2009.

I am caught in the middle of a school redesign project where the options for classroom spaces are all multi-class spaces – the only questions being offered are “how many” not “shall we do this or not?” I feel that the physical infrastructure is being changed before the pedagogy or surrounding systemic supports or assessments are being changed and that makes me nervous. There is system-level lip-service to the idea of training teachers to effectively use these new spaces in pedagogically-correct ways, but I am not seeing the actual training being made available to us in authentic and sustainable ways.

Oh well, this is something I need to come to terms with in order to tackle Assessment 2. Time to crack open the sacred sources, fall to my knees, and read and pray to find the hallowed path again…


Bradbeer, C. (2011, October 9). Collaborative teaching: What might it look like. Retrieved from

Warner Records. (2009, October 26). Barenaked Ladies: It’s all been done (video version) [Video file]. Retrieved from

2 thoughts on “Crisis of faith

  1. There was something about this “it’s all been done” aspect in the readings. Teachers who have been in the profession for decades and have seen certain things swing in and out of fashion who KNOW they will be asked to spend dozens of hours learning a new fangled way of doing things, re-write programs and lessons to accomodate this NEW THING only to have to do it all again in 3-5 years time when the next NEW THING comes along. Change fatigue.

    I don’t have decades of experience, but I do have the vicarious experience of my mother as a teacher who started teaching in the late 70s, so I know this to be a true phenomenon.

  2. Hear, hear! My boss took the walls without addressing shared vision/ professional learning/ changing pedagogies. Unmitigated disaster! Good luck.

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