Tuesday 11 May 2010

Language of a Professional

Jago was getting bored in the car. We told him, no, we're not nearly there. He said, 'It's alright for you. We're stuck back here like dogs!' He was spot on, in language everyone understood, and got me thinking about the language we use. We had a Bright Space Creative Agent meeting yesterday - the conversation came up again about training, creative agent as a profession and as a qualification. Wiki tells me a professional is 'is a member of a vocation founded upon specialised educational training'.

Our profession is developing its training, but the language of a creative agent is already very much in place. We categorise creativity into nine different, distinct sub-headings. We talk about 'triangulation' in order to ensure '360 degrees evaluation'. Much of the language is created or reinvented to describe our key areas of interest - creativity, reflection, ownership and is borrowed from the lexicon and pedagogies already in our schools, although little understood by anyone outside of education. We have a very big folder with an extensive 'toolbox' of paperwork.

Our language is, as more widely in education, beginning to be used to differentiate us, professionalise us, assure quality. The purpose of creating a profession might be 'quality assurance', but even if we promote creativity in all, our language already promotes a lack of understanding. Any qualification risks creating an elite in critical friendliness, a division from the other creative professionals (and amateurs) we hope to create partnership with, and a move away from our core beliefs of creative learning we evangelise in our schools.

Easy for me to say, being well qualified and in work (for the time being), but I would rather focus on the issues of 'quality assurance', developing new and confident Creative Agents, supporting existing creative agents, without an expensive and questionable qualification.

Are we creative agents really so frightened, so misunderstood, we need to create a qualification? We need to support each other to ensure quality, rely on our strengths as very different, individual creative agents, and reach out to everyone using language easily understood. We need to stand side by side with communities, schools, children and creative practitioners. No special language, no magic tricks, no qualification needed.

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