Retrospective #30: Change is Good.

1st, December, 2012. Welcome to the first month of the rest of your life. I do not know much about the Mayan Prophesy, but I do know that 2012 was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. From what I understand, some people say the world will end this month. Others claim it will be more of a transformation that takes place: the death of old ideas and ways of thinking, not the death of all life on Earth.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer the latter of these scenarios. I prefer it for a number of reasons: 1) I have a bubs who is three months old; 2) I’ve got a little more living to do myself; 3) I reckon there are a good number of old ideas and ways of thinking we’d be better off without.
Yesterday (30th November, 2012) was the official due date of my doctoral thesis, which represents four years of research, careful thought, and a massive amount of writing and rewriting. The gist of my thesis is that school science can be taught in such a way – relevant, experiential, local, solution-oriented – as to improve students’ scientific literacy, ecological literacy, and some students’ attitudes toward studying science. If you were one of those students who did not like science and dropped out as soon as you could, this approach to science teaching and learning is (was?) for you!
Transformation as nature does it
But this week’s column is not about boring you with the finer details of science education research, it is about transformations and seeing things differently. The reason I included the reference to my thesis above is to emphasize that transformation from old ways of thinking to new ways of thinking is not necessarily something to fear or avoid, but to welcome. For example, those students who reported a more positive attitude toward studying science when it was more experiential, local, relevant and solution-oriented experienced a change in their perception of school science. Would anyone argue this was a bad thing?
Transformation as nature does it
If December, 2012 brings about a change in our collective thinking that results in a more kind, just, fair and sustainable world, who would argue against it? (Actually, I think I may be able to name a few.) The point is that change – while sometimes scary and unpredictable – is often for the best. And that’s how a pile of wood sitting in a warehouse in Aramoho became a kitchen floor in Castlecliff.

The off-cuts and B-grade Tasmanian oak was not of use to the door manufacturer, so he put them up on TradeMe with a Buy Now price of something like $88. I did not know what I might use the timber for at the time, but I knew it was a bargain. I clicked it up and then I picked it up. And then it sat in our yard under roofing iron for over a year.
I don’t know when or why the motivation struck (probably when I was good and tired of writing my thesis), but one day while my wife, Dani, was at work, our Chinese intern Ji Qiao (don’t ask, it’s a long story) and I transformed the kitchen floor from trashed to treasured. The look on Dani’s face when she returned home said it all: “Change is good.”
Tune in next week for the tale of the Chinese intern, his smart phone, and how to get a 15.2 m2 floor out of 15.4 m2of timber. 
Peace, Estwing

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