The footpaths around Beijing are like any other footpath, except for one feature. There is a 30cm wide corrugated tile running along the length of the footpath. On pondering why this tile, and why this arrangement, I arrived at the idea that it had something to do with the rain. I had previously walked on these tiles as a kind of foot massage (very nice). Thinking I had it sorted, I asked a ‘local’ [guess I should have started there]. Simple answer – the tiles mark a path for those who are ‘blind’ to see their way forward.
– the ‘path’ is available if it can be found
– the ‘path’ may give a sense of safety to those who feel their way
– the ‘path’ is an ‘option’ for those who are blind
– I suspect I walk blind most days, not seeing through or past what I ‘take for granted’
– I walk ‘blind’ in the sense that I am not always ‘seeing’ tiles ‘laid out in advance’ for me [who laid them out?]
– I am reminded of Parker Palmer’s book, “the hidden wholeness”. In this book there is a poem entitled “now I become myself”. For me, the poem speaks of a personal ‘becoming’; a recognition that we need to be ‘learning’ to see the essence of who we have always been.
and all this from tiles I have trodden on many times….
Just thinking about my keynote at the #SASPA14 conference with a focus on futuristic thinking.
The challenge and opportunity for leadership is in building, growing, and sustaining ‘innovative, entrepreneurial, and generative’ relationships in a continuously changing educational landscape.
I would argue that the essence of our mission and work in education has characteristics we can carry forward.
Be encouraged; walking blind at times, as we search for a ‘way’ doesn’t have to be deficit thinking.
Some other topics
Very good meeting yesterday, with the Head of Beijing City International School, learning about the educational context of international education in Beijing.
Wonderful catch-up deep sleep last night – 8.45pm to 5am. Either I was exhausted after walking in 37 degrees (or it could have been the Heineken beer.
One more event before the flight home – the graduation ceremony for Capital Normal University (CNU) students being awarded a Master of Education (MEd). This will be the 11th graduation of MEd students involved in the CNU / Flinders partnership. This is the second time I have been at this ceremony; I still recall the excitement, the photos, the breadth of the smiles, indeed the celebration. And indeed what credit is due to these students completing a postgraduate degree in, at least, their second language [Reality check: could I do that?]
As for today, it’s 9am and no sign of the sun as yet. Think it will be struggling to emerge today. This morning I am writing action plans for the many meeting I have had this week before dressing up for the graduation.
I had a bit of fun early in my trip and it might happen again tomorrow. My tickets have been booked under the name of Professor David Giles, but the officials don’t recognise the professor title and queried me as to what it was and why it did not appear in my passport (as if this was part of my name). I was asked if it was my second name.
If there is a significant time delay between now and the next entry in my blog, perhaps the name on my ticket was a bigger issue after all.
In that case, its been nice knowing you.
Take care and ‘dwell with possibility’.