Agape Workplace Initiative
NEWS

1st Dec 2016

"Of course schools have no interest in wisdom!"

"Of course schools have no interest in wisdom!"
I was slightly taken aback by this rather strong statement in the title made in passing by a head teacher friend of mine, but decided to test it out on one or two others immersed in primary and secondary education. The response in each case was a sad and reluctant nod.

It’s not just that wisdom is seen as old-fashioned. “Wise words”, “Give us the benefit of your wisdom”, “Let’s pool our collective wisdom and see what we can come up with”. Whenever we use the word, it is always positively. Yet recently when I was facilitating a discussion by a group of governors trying to redesign their mission statement, the word “wisdom” was greeted with a luke warm response. It’s as if wisdom has a mysterious quality about it that is out of reach for mortal educationalists laden down with statutory requirements, focused on helping pupils gain qualifications, so that they can get decent jobs, so that they can join the rest of us in the rat race. So we settle for growing knowledge rather than wisdom.

But there’s a personal cost to count as well. Wisdom is such a holistic word - it demands that we bring the whole of ourselves to the educational process. It insists on drawing us in as subjective actors in the story, rather than objective experts in the classroom, and that makes us feel vulnerable. Many of us would prefer not to go there.

The courses we run operate in this space, such as our forthcoming “Managing Through Effective Relationships” Course for heads and deputies coming up in the new year, over three Wednesday mornings in Central Birmingham. Email me on phil@awi.org.uk for details. It would be nice to think there are some people still out there who really are interested in growing wisdom - in both themselves and others. I’d love to make contact.