I have a kind of love-hate relationship with the school. Having spent significant parts of my life in school settings (from kindergarten to postgraduate level; as student, teacher and administrator), I owe some of my best and some of my worst experiences to the school. If given the opportunity, much can easily be improved. In fact, on various occasions did I take such opportunities or did opportunities accidentally come my way. My experience is that in such cases most of what was needed to generate the desired improvements was simply the willingness to take a step back from past - institutionalized - positions and collaboratively create an environment of trust. The rest then followed.
Unfortunately, few institutionalized school environments are based on trust (for an exception see some of the experience reported at http://www.idec2006.org/) and more than just trust may be needed for still more fundamental changes. Thus, I am currently and for the next two weeks facilitating an online dialogue on the question in the title of this post. It’s a question regarding the two options, or any mix of those options, and a question regarding the question itself. Is the first question relevant? If so, why - and what does it lead to? If not, what other or additional questions must be asked?
More about the dialogue can be found at http://www.learndev.org/ToSchoolOrNotToSchool.html. At the same URL there is also a link to a two-page introductory statement that aims at serving as a prompt for the discussion. Besides, details are available about how to access and/or participate in the dialogue, which runs until April 27, 2006.