Why The Conversation?
Issue 6 of The Conversation has just been released. (Find it on the Issues page of this website). As you can see, if you have read any of the previous issues, the style has changed. This issue is designed to be consumed in ePub format, best read on iBooks if you have that ability. Both the ePub and PDF formats are available to download from www.theconversation.education. Why the change? Two reasons: to reduce paper usage by printing fewer physical copies and to maximise multi-media content.
However, the aim of The Conversation remains the same. In an age where technology has accelerated the ‘culmination of separation’ and ‘the spectacle’ has achieved totality (see Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle) there is inherent danger that this quarterly publication is subsumed into the separate pseudo-world as an image; that which was meant to encourage directly lived experiences receding itself into a representation of the spectacle. It is with a keen sense of the irony implicit in this new image rich, multi-media saturated format, that I want to call forward the true intention of The Conversation project; namely as a means of promoting, encouraging and facilitating authentic experiences that are directly lived, engaged with and lift educators out of the false consciousness of the spectacle and into real life.
Real conversations have the power to do this. They have the power to connect us to our colleagues. They can be transformative; challenging our ideologies. They can be caring; supporting those around us. Conversations can alleviate the isolation too often inherent in teacher’s lives.
In a recent survey, Teacher Tapp found that only 20% of teachers have sufficient contact with colleagues. That leaves 80% with insufficient contact. Isolation in the profession has many causes and many consequences.
It was always the intention of The Conversation project that authentic dialogue would increase within the sphere of education. This magazine (now iBook) was conceived only as a spur towards this end. It was never designed to be the representation of collegiate discussion, the image of a profession in conversation; rather it was, and remains, a tool to promote dialectic engagement between real teachers and educators, living and working in real schools.
I have come to realise that perhaps it is a foolish thing to hope for from this project. The reality is that we are incessantly busy and increasingly isolated as a result.
A further irony is that I spend longer and longer producing, writing and editing The Conversation, and talking about it with colleagues less and less.
Despite this, I have never wavered from the belief that the best form of CPD or professional development comes as a result of education professionals talking to each other. That might occur as a result of writing an article for this magazine and chatting with colleagues about it. So my intention is to keep producing The Conversation, to keep writing about things I have spoken to others about, to encourage others to write articles for discussion. I aim to make something of value in the fight against alienation and ‘the spectacle’; work that involves individuals seeking to engage in lives lived in the first person.
If you would like to discuss the ideological foundation of The Conversation project further, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. To contribute to The Conversation visit the website or email email@example.com .