So here’s an early summary of the week.
Monday was a public holiday, Tuesday was LSoE’s orientation which, to be honest, was quite a let down.
The upside is that classes on Wednesday and Thursday were very nice. =)
Wednesday was “Leadership at School Level” with Irwin Blumer. Thursday was “Educational Change” with Andy Hargreaves.
It took about 10 mins to warm up to Blumer. I reached class early, looked at the people hanging around outside, saw the classroom was empty and decided to just go in. Classic introvert.
Noone followed until Blumer came in. I stood up, greeted him, and was met with a rather blank, distracted stare. He seemed quietly hostile right up to the point when class started 10 mins later and he formally introduced himself to everyone.
“My name is Irwin Blumer and there are three things you probably ought to know about me. The first thing is that I wear a hearing aid, so to me, I always sound like I’m shouting. It may not sound that way to you (his voice is really very soft…), but that’s how it sounds to me. So if you can’t hear me, you have to tell me.”
“The second thing you need to know is that I hate wasting people’s time. This course is about the practical aspects of being a school leader. If what I’m saying is not practical, you have to tell me. Otherwise, I’d be wasting your time and I hate that.”
He delivered both these lines with the exact same face he wore when I greeted him. Quietly hostile I’d call it, but what do I know…
“The third thing you need to know is that I have an amazing sense of humour. <pause for laughter> You probably don’t see it, <breaks into a small grin while he pauses for more laughter> but I do. I’ve been in education for many years now and you need a sense of humour if you’re gonna last that long.”
I like this guy already. =D
Blumer is very focused on the practical. Even in his assignments, he emphasises time and again that we need to be concrete and concise on what we’re talking about. Provide practical examples and don’t just spout theories.
Hargreaves is probably the exact opposite.
It doesn’t take long to realise that Hargreaves has an amazing mind. He has a PhD in sociology, reads widely, remembers what he reads, and is extremely adapt at connecting the theories that he has read about to real life.
Andy’s course feels a lot more theoretical to me. A lot of focus is given to exploring classical and modern theories of education as well as change.
The professors are friendly (even Blumer) and intelligent, and the classmates are nice as well.
I look forward to both these courses already. =)