A little learning is a dangerous thing…

“A little learning is a dang’rous thing;

Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:

There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,

And drinking largely sobers us again.

Alexander Pope, 1711

The Classical inspired pre-cursor to the Dunning-Kruger analysis, Alexander Pope’s warning about a little learning being intoxicating feels as true today – in a world of EduTwitter – as it appears to have been in 1711. And, on reflection, while I genuinely do consider the wealth of opportunity offered by Twitter to be one of the most astonishing and engaging professional learning challenges of the last few years, my unease with it has been encapsulated nicely by that fear of shallowness.

The danger, for me, has been in a broad but superficial engagement with what I feel are really monumental texts, or shifting sands and paradigms in education. I feel like I know just enough to be superficially au fait – dangerous, and intoxicating – but not enough to really work through them and feel like I have anything vaguely approaching depth. In some places, I’ve worked through issues with colleagues, and in the application in my own context, but in others, they float, nebulously at the edges of my thinking: unargued, unrefined and ill-defined. While it’s possible that this could just be the very overactive Imposter Syndrome that often challenges my thinking, I also believe that there’s an element of this that is inherently linked to the way in which I read and engage with what’s currently out there.

So, this year, I’ve decided to focus on my own professional development, and embarked on a Masters in Education programme with the University of Buckingham. I’m very excited by the combination of experience days and research focus, and having already met some fellow students and completed an induction day with the very wise Dr Bethany Kelly, I’m apprehensive but excited to start drinking a bit more deeply!

While I’m sure there’s much to evolve, my initial ideas are focused on building cultures of teaching, learning and research-informed pedagogy, and how and where the independent sector fits in to that environment. I’m looking forward to reaching out to colleagues and shaping some thoughts soon, and hopefully getting a supervisor and getting started too!

Some subsequent posts may well contain thesis and research content – you have thus been warned, and any ideas and discussions are very definitely welcomed!


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