Thursday, September 8, 2016

There is no such thing as a new normal

I am ruminating over a powerful blog post by my friend and colleague Will Richardson entitled Our Uncertain Moment

And because I have a propensity for living “in the moment,” this blog pokes at me and disturbs me. This is a good thing. I actually relish being disturbed. My favorite essay of all time is Margaret Wheatley’s piece, Willing to Be Disturbed

Will’s blog links to a post by Ziauddin Sardar who has been writing for the past six years about what he calls “postnormal times.” Sardar is the Director of the Centre of Postnormal Policy and Future Studies, East West Chicago and the editor of its journal East West Affairs. His work really captures the disconcerting nature of our current reality and should challenge school leaders everywhere.

He writes that all that was ‘normal’ has now evaporated; we have entered postnormal times, that in between period where old orthodoxies are dying, new ones have not yet emerged, and nothing really seems to make sense. To have any notion of a viable future, we must grasp the significance of this period of transition which is characterized by three c’s: complexity, chaos and contradictions.”

We live in an in-between period where old orthodoxies are dying, new ones have yet to be born, and very few things seem to make sense. Ours is a transitional age, a time without the confidence that we can return to any past we have known and with no confidence in any path to a desirable, attainable or sustainable future.

Do you find this disturbing? Do you find it disturbing because we know this to be true but continue responding so impotently?

I feel responsible as a school leader to tackle this. To find others who share my urgency about creating the conditions for learning that will help our kids cross between where we are now and where we need to go.

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