Courage, trust and loyalty
9 May 2012
Courage, trust and loyalty, now there’s a stirring title. These words have come to mind recently as I’ve been around and about, so I’d like to explore them here.
Firstly, why is the title made up of three words? Well, odd numbers are (strangely) more satisfactory than even ones. All gardeners worth their salt will buy plants in threes and fives. In rural Italy, where I wrote most of this piece, even numbers are mistrusted. The local butcher once demurred from selling me four sausages on the grounds that it was unlucky. This is however, a distraction for another time (and maybe another blogger).
Let’s start with courage. While I was at the National Science Teachers Association Conference in Indianapolis I attended a very interesting session on the Next Generation Standards for Science Education. These are being developed in collaboration with 26 states in a long, non-political process, being managed extraordinarily carefully, with the hope that the force of the majority will prevail and all states will be persuaded to adopt the Standards. The speaker called for courage in developing and commenting on the Standards which will build on the already published Framework. In fact, NSTA is giving helpful advice about setting up discussion groups to input into the consultation process. So, do we need courage here as we look towards our new National Curriculum? Of course we do – to stand up for young people’s entitlement to an excellent science education – whatever the kind of school they attend.
My illustration for trust is the position of ASE as a charity. At a seminar I attended a week or two ago the speaker’s (single) very good point was that charities, such as ASE, command a huge amount of trust, in that supporters donate money and trust the organisation to do good with it. This is the simplest case, which applies to many types of charities. In our case, as a membership organisation, we are trusted to be independent in the views we express and to honestly convey how our members feel.
Loyalty comes in when this trust is maintained over many years. In ASE’s case, we have many members, who have been with us for a substantial number of our nearly 50 years, and one or two who have been with our forerunner organisations. We sometimes receive delightful resignation notes from these stalwarts, as the members no longer need to be with us. We can only be grateful for their loyalty to ASE over the years.
So the take-home messages from the blog this time are – buy sausages in odd numbers (you can always give the extra one to the dog, or son-in-law) – summon up courage for the next step in the National Curriculum saga – ASE appreciates the trust and loyalty of our members – and please remember the ASE Anniversary Appeal!
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