I attended a professional learning seminar with international educational leadership guru Professor Guy Claxton at Orbis yesterday. You can imagine my delight when two slides into his presentation he starts talking about knitting!
Prof Claxton is into knitting: as a metaphor for the future of education. He spoke about the need to knit purpose and procedure “tightly together” within schools to support success for students and schools, which he defined as ‘fulfilment’ (and not wellbeing, or potential…lots to explore there!)
I have been thinking deeply about this knitting metaphor and reflecting just how rich it is… this is what I would like to add to would like to add to this idea that knitting might reveal some wisdom for educators:
✔ Simple tools, interdependence: Knitting, no matter how complex, begins with two sticks and string working in harmony: in this analogy, the purpose is one needle and procedure is the other, working together to create an interlocking fabric signifying an interdependent learning community populated by students, teachers, parents and community agencies.
✔ Stretch: knit fabric is stretchy. These days we don’t think of knits as sportswear, but they were- and in many fields, still are, even when the fibre has changed. When purpose and procedure are working together, we can be elastic and hold all sorts of things as a community that we might not be able to as individuals.
✔ Make do and mend: dropped stitches can be caught, a few stitches out of alignment can be ‘tinked’ (tink= knit backwards) and when the fabric appears beyond repair, knitting can be unraveled and reknit. I think this is helpful for educational leaders to consider that even when things appear broken, we can pick up, tink, or frog back to the pattern we set, and realign ourselves with purpose in one hand and policy in the other to create the fabric we want in our schools.
And when it all gets too much, knitting is great for stress relief, refocusing your mind and breath, regulating your emotions and improving your wool-being. Maybe I should start offering knitting and education seminars!