Call for Ideas

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Photo credit, James McGachie
Summer campaign

Never did anyone think that the project, aimed at giving people a voice and stimulating people’s interest in making positive changes in our world, would go international. Two years after the original idea here is the international edition. As the title says, this truly is….. Ideas Without Frontiers

Purchase your Ebook here:-
Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

Purchase your hard back copy here:-
Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

and share access to this book via this short link:- http://bit.ly/ideaswithoutfrontiers

Contribute to future editions
Together our ideas can make a positive contribution to our society. Together these ideas will help to challenge the apathy of accepting the world as it is and the problems within it. Together these ideas will re-inject the intellectual capacity that is hidden in modern society behind media celebrities and the barrage of advertising in free newspapers and spam emails. It is time for a 21st Century Enlightenment…… will you be playing a part in it?!

Submissions for Ideas 2 are already coming in thick and fast from Scotland to China.

The deadline for submission has been extended to 30th October.

Your ideas should be instinctive, original and from the heart and should not take long to write. Please send to ndr_mclennan@yahoo.co.uk for entry into the next edition.

The book has now entered its second publication and there is now a demand to pull together what I always wanted to aspire to…. A worldwide edition. Indeed, it has gone a stage further. Ideas Without Frontiers is now international!

I am now making an ongoing call for papers to be submitted for this worldwide edition.

The rules of submission are simple.

Ask yourself a question about an issue of current interest of controversy.
Answer that question within 900 words and submit to me on Microsoft Word document in Times New Roman font 12 text.
Try to keep references to a minimum. Where you do use references please ensure they are appropriately credited and use the Harvard referencing system (* see below).
Email your submission to me . ndr_mclennan@yahoo.co.uk Please title your email “IDEAS WITHOUT FRONTIERS”. All submission will be read by the newly formed editorial board (details to be annonced on final member being accepted- watch this space) and those selected will be published before summer 2012.

There are lots of BIG QUESTIONS and lots of brilliant ideas and answers out there…. so come on- put pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard and get writing! I look forward to seeing the range of topics tackled in this third edtion and to a range of brilliant ideas that will insprie some, influence others and interest all!

Good luck!

* HARVARD REFERENCES should appear as follows:-
In-text citation:-

“An effective structure is important etc etc…….” (Redman, 2006, p.22)

Reference list at end of piece:-

Redman, P., 2006. Good essay writing: a social sciences guide. 3rd ed. London: Open University in assoc. with Sage.

Chapter authors in edited works:-
References to the work of an author that appears as a chapter, or part of a larger work, that is edited by someone else, should be cited within your text using the name of the contributory author not the editor of the whole work.

In his work on health information, Smith (1975) states …

In the reference list at the end of your document, you should include details of both the chapter author and the editor of the entire work:-

Smith, J., 1975. A source of information. In: W. Jones, ed. 2000. One hundred and one ways to find information about health. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Ch.2

Introduction to ‘Ideas Without Frontiers’
In November 2010, I emailed the Young Programme delegates to ask if they would be willing to share the papers they had delivered on the programme and any further innovative ideas and papers they had, in a new publication. The publication aimed to share with young people some of the key issues in the world as seen by other young people. It was to be a publication written by young citizens, for young citizens. Never did I think that the project, aimed at giving young people a voice and stimulating young people’s interest in making positive changes in our world, would go international.
Three years later, after increasing interest and demand, here I am writing an introduction to the what is essentially third edition of ‘Political Animals?’ For this edition, though, I have changed the name. From here on the series will be named ‘Ideas Without Frontiers.’ Furthermore I have opened out contributions to all age ranges, given that the readership has no limits and the purpose of this book is to open out and include, not stifle or debar. The overarching aims will be the same, only it will have an international, inclusive dimension both in contributors and, hopefully, readership. This latest edition includes contributions from Poland, Romania, Macedonia, Greece, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Cyprus.
But ‘why the change of title?’ I hear some of you ask. ‘Political Animals?’ was my title of choice way back at the very beginning because I felt there was a perception that young people were disengaging from the political when, in fact, to my mind young people offer the best solutions to socio-economic and thus political problems facing the world. However, on travelling around Europe and speaking with potential contributors, it became apparent that the word ‘political’ had a greater resonance and could act as a deterrent to potential contributors from certain countries. Whilst ideas and education are innately political, it is in essence intellect and problem-solving that we are sharing. Thus, a new title was required.
The doo on the front cover, however, still features as a prominent feature in all the books. I first captured the picture of the doo outside the Scottish Parliament as I waited to go into a meeting in one of the committee rooms. As I stood in the line to go through security I saw a pigeon (or ‘doo’ as they are called in Scotland), sitting above the sign for the Scottish Parliament. It had its backed turned and it seemed to encapsulate the question I was thinking about when pulling these books together: ‘Have young people turned their backs on politics?’ Since then the idea of the bird has grown on me. A bird, far from being ‘bird brained’, has a bird’s eye view of everything that is going on; it can fly high without any glass ceilings to limit it. What is more, it knows no frontiers. Whilst we humans have artificial boundaries established by politics, lines on maps and nation states, birds know not of such divisions. They cross boundaries and see many things. They have the ability, in effect, to ‘cross-fertilise.’ I hope this book will cross boundaries and open many people’s eyes to many issues. We all hold the common tie of humanity and civilization and we are starting to overcome problems collaboratively. For example, the essay on domestic violence written by a contributor in Northern Ireland in 2010 has the same values and aims as another contribution that could have been written at this time, January 2013, to highlight attacks on women such as that on an 11-year old girl in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
The picture I have chosen for the front cover of this edition comes from Barcelona. Again I was thinking about the book when I saw a bird take off and fly nonchalantly past the congress building there. I captured it with a view to having it on our third edition. In particular I liked the idea that the bird was on the ground for the first two editions. However, for this international edition it is now flying high.
In ‘Political Animals? 2’ I promised to share with you the lessons of the geese. I am not sure who first wrote it but I continue to see the lessons echoed at education conferences. Some websites accredit it to Dr Robert McNeish. Short of any better information, and having seen it in so many PowerPoint presentations, I credit ‘the lessons’ to him and have added them as the first contribution to this book. They are a set lessons which have close synergies with this book. The Lesson of the Geese is very short and yet very powerful. I think this has been one of the real strengths of both the ‘Political Animals?’ books and hopefully the ‘Ideas Without Frontiers’ books. The essays are short, snappy, rough and ready and yet in a short space of time offer lots. There is lots of detail, fact and opinion but most importantly there is lots of scope for further thinking. The mode of short essays has worked very well indeed and is one of the main pieces of positive feedback that previous editions have received. Brevity and clarity of thought can be more powerful than the lengthy monologues that are traditionally considered intellectual stimulus in a world which is rapidly becoming one of short text messages, tweets, facebook updates and tiny free newspaper articles capturing major world events in a few lines. Intellectual stimulus can be achieved in a small number of words and can be very powerful if it is well thought out, well written and well received. Each of the themes in these books is written in roughly fewer than 900 words.
In history, one of the greatest, most powerful speeches of all time was Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. On that day, 19th November 1863, Edward Everett had given a powerful 13,607 word oration. However it is not Everett’s part that is now most read. Following music, prayers and Everett’s oration, Lincoln spoke for only a few minutes. His speech was only ten sentences long and less than 300 words. In those ten sentences he summarised the conflict and delivered one of the most influential speeches in history. Charles Sumner would later go on to say: “The battle itself was less important than the speech.”
Speech, both written and verbally delivered, sadly is no longer given the same importance in modern society and I hope these books act as a renaissance of writing, a rebirth of reading and a stimulus for thinking and action. I hope you enjoy reading the following short inputs in this wonderful collection of ‘Ideas Without Frontiers’. I hope they have impact, even if only to have you thinking, debating on them or nodding in agreement with the sentiments, ideas and solutions shared. In future I hope you will share your ideas and at the back of this book you can find out how to be part of future editions of ‘Ideas Without Frontiers’.
Neil McLennan
Aberdeenshire, Scotland (March 2013)

About the editor

About the editor
Neil McLennan has held a number of critical roles in supporting and challenging change and improvement in education. He started his career as a history teacher after leaving school with no idea what he wanted to do other than some form of public service. The targets of his initial job applications included teacher training college, the police service and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. After going through the FCO recruitment process his other application to join the police was accepted, as was his application to teacher training college. It was this latter vocation that Neil took up. Since then he has taught history and gone on to be a head of history, development officer for a vocation training programme for disengaged learners, a seconded head of faculty for a large English and Social Studies faculty, the National Development Officer for Enterprise in Education, a Quality Improvement Officer (Education, Culture and Sport) and an Acting Service Manager (Education, Culture and Sport). Neil has also led major organisations supporting education. He was a founding member and the first President of the Enterprise Practitioners Association, an organisation established to share best practice in learning and people development between the education, business and voluntary sectors. He is currently President of the Scottish Association of Teachers of History and represents them in European fora with heritage organisations and Government Ministers’ Working Groups. He also writes history textbooks for Curriculum for Excellence and National Qualifications. Neil is also the Chair of the Curriculum for Excellence Working Group of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Young Academy of Scotland.
In October 2010 Neil attended the Institute of Contemporary Scotland’s Young Programme. This week-long programme is designed to foster and develop future leaders in society. During that week Neil was runner-up as the Scotland and Ireland Young Thinker of the Year, delivering his final paper on change in education. Neil went on to share a number of the delegates’ papers in the publication ‘Political Animals?: Key issues for young citizens.’, motivated by the range of powerful ideas shared on the programme and the drive to share them for the interest and action of the wider world. Since then, Neil has published ‘Political Animals? 2: Key issues for young citizens’ and has gone on to be the 2011/12 Young Scot of the Year. Neil was also a finalist in the UK Young Thinker of the Year, where he delivered a paper on global terrorism. That paper is shared in this book.
In 2013 Neil was honoured by the Royal Society of Edinburgh ‘in recognition of outstanding contributions to civic society, creativity and social enterprise, education and social sciences.’ For his contribution he was awarded the Henry Duncan Medal in Social Sciences, Education, Business and Public Service.
Interest in Neil’s ‘Political Animals?’ as a social capital generator has been widespread. It has grown so much that there was a demand to share the model and open contributions to a wider international community. ‘Ideas Without Frontiers’ © is Neil’s attempt to bring an international community of thinkers and problem-solvers together to discuss major topics of the day, provoke intellectual debate and provide the stimulus for improving our world for everyone in it.

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bit.ly/skills4success

bit.ly/skills4success

New book selling well…. Get your copy at the short link bit.ly/skills4success

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Institute of Education / HX Conference- Holding a Mirror to Michael Gove

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Educating the Nation(s)

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I am delighted to be presenting at the University of Huddersfield as part of joint University of Huddersfield, The Academy for British and Irish Studies, in association with the Political Studies Association Specialist Group on Britishness conference.

http://www.hud.ac.uk/research/researchcentres/abis/events/educatingthenations.php

http://www.history.org.uk/resources/secondary_news_1767.html

To aid delegates today I will use this page to upload a number of different documents for more in depth scrutiny and further reading:-

Social Studies Curriculum Impact Review Documents (Education Scotland, 2013)
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SocialStudiesKeyStrengthsAspectsforDevelopment_tcm4-732222

SocialStudiesSummaryforChildrenYoungPeople_tcm4-732123

History in the Making- A Report following a public consultation into history education (Neil McLennan 2013)
history-in-the-making-a-report-following-a-public-consultation-into-history-education-draft-for-practitioners-consultation

https://neilsgleeeclub.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/history-in-the-making/

Two articles, which were later poorly misquoted in the press, which may also be of interest:-

http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6225790

http://neilsgleeeclub.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/scottish-field-article/

An overview of history education in Scotland – Neil McLennan, will be available soon via another publication. 

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Time for a Summer Clearout of the Curriculum?

The official line on CfE is not the one teachers take (Priestly,TESS, 5.4.13) is more concerning given it is also not the line officials take.  Discrepancies exist between validators’ tools and the new framework established by CfE.  Bringing together scrutiny and support bodies may iron out differing narratives however, at present, the aims and objectives of CfE remain unclear and disjointed.  What national objectives schools should primarily work towards?  HGIOIS?  BTC documents?  CfE Entitlements?  CfE briefing notes?  Excellence Group reports (do you remember them?- what was done with them?)?     A teacher setting such unclear Learning Objectives or being so vague in Success Criteria would certainly receive professional support at best.  In the worst case scenario continued concerns would lead to competency proceedings.     The quality indicator for ‘Curriculum’ is perhaps the clearest example of the current ‘disconnect’.  QI 5.1 is the golden prized for many schools to score ‘excellent’ given that the numbers getting ‘good’ or ‘very good’ in this category declined during the implementation phase of the CfE.  However one would do well to ask; “Where do the sub themes of this QI sit when looking at CfE guidelines and, in particular, Building the Curriculum 3?”  Moreover, “where does Building the Curriculum 4 sit in the inspection model?”       Schools failing to have a Curriculum rationale might be open for criticism.  However, at a national level, there is no rationale, aims or objectives explicitly set and able to be judged against in terms of implementation.  What should schools be working towards as a priority?  Scrutinisers might ask probing reflective questions if schools presented such an unwieldy staff handbook of objectives, processes, procedures and curricula.     It is little wonder some staff are disengaged from the step change CfE was supposed to produce.  Some are not fully aboard with the strategically planned quality improvement agenda that should benefit our students.  Some don’t know if they are coming or going faced with this multi layered maze.  Thankfully our students are benefiting from dedicated, tenacious educators who are determined to succeed with positive outcomes for our young people.  However, this improvement is in spite of, not because of, frameworks that were supposed to support radical reforms in education.     The latest curriculum briefing paper on Scottish Studies asks reflective questions on a single theme.  Are similar papers are to follow on ‘local’, ‘British’, ‘European’ or ‘Global Studies’?  On one hand I hope so, in terms of parity of esteem and curricular balance.  On the other hand, I do worry about drowning the profession with even more paperwork, hanging off the already multi headed hydra.  Where do the briefing papers feature for schools as a priority?  How are these reflective questions linked to clear improvement agenda?   Outward looking Scots educators reflect “at least our system is not as confusing as ‘down south’”, but that is ironically what we are moving towards.  Despite challenges in England, educators are sure of one thing:- their professional collegiate energy is focussed on collaboratively developing and sharing high quality pedagogical practice.  This should be the main aim as opposed to parochialism, pontificating or procrastinating over plans, policies and papers.  Keeping it simple is the key.  One would do well to remember our ‘Ps.’  ‘Planning plus preparation prevents poor performance’ but we should not lose focus of the fact that producing pedagogy pipelines properly pointed at preparing pupils prevents pared performance.   

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Skills book

The real debate in schools should be about ensuring appropriate skills are being taught.

To help teachers and learners, watch this space for an all new book exploring the skills for success:-

determind to succeed front cover

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Scottish Field article

Please find attached an article from earlier in May 2013 which has started a good going, and very worthy debate, about what should be taught in schools. This is a very apt and timely debate and is what democracy is all about!

Scottish Field article

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