The educational elders

I’ve had a long career in education and over that time I’ve been exposed to the ideas, opinions and theories of teachers, academics, colleagues and parents. But when I stop to think about those people who’ve had the greatest impact on my professional life, it would have to be what I refer to as the education elders. These elders may not be the most popular or cited but they have always provided sound advice, were well-informed and well-read, were willing to challenge the status quo and often times stood at the margins of the educational space. People like…..

  1. Hedley Beare (*)(An Australian visionary whose thinking about education was so far ahead of the times)
  2. Paul Brock (*)(Gifted speaker, writer, thinker who showed what was possible even when faced with significant challenges)
  3. Michael Ryan (A former teacher of mine who played a mentoring role in my early career and continues to keep in touch)
  4. Br Aengus Kavanagh (Has dedicated his life and work to Catholic education; always willing to have difficult conversations in the pursuit of improving outcomes for all learners)
  5. Barry Dwyer (*)(A true gentleman and scholar)
  6. Philomena Billington (Embodies servant leadership)

(*) deceased

Although wisdom can be found on the pages of books, the real power of wisdom elders is the opportunity to engage in a dialogue that results in reflection and action. Often it is the accidental interactions over a cup of tea or on the way to a meeting that have yielded the most fruitful insights. I am immensely grateful for the interactions I’ve had with those mentioned here; their wisdom continues to impact on my professional life. Who are your educational elders?



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