Learning Futures Festival Online

The Beatles and the Open Context Model of Learning

This is a posting to support the Learning Futures Festival with links to stories and YouTube.

Day One; There are four stories, all of them are on Scribd

1) From Me To You; I learnt about music and making friends through sharing my excitement about the Beatles in 1963. What cultural experiences inspired you to make friends; story here, song version on YouTube (live at their first concert in the US in 1964).

2) Do You Want to Know a Secret? is about building a community of games-playing friends (in 1963). Did you play games when you were a kid and make friends that way? What kind of games were they and how long did they last? What did you learn from them? Here is a video of the song;

3) Thank You Girl features I Like It a song by Gerry and the Pacemakers, and is about hanging about in groups and boy/girl confusion at school (and the Scandal that meant that MPs pay never got properly sorted out).  Did you hang around in cliques and how did that shape your thinking? Story on Scribd, video by YouTube;

4) She Loves You the signature song of a Beatlemania Autumn in 1963 when I accepted the rules of school and worked diligently, whilst working out my own values in my free time. Did you derive your beliefs and values from school or from the cultural activities you engaged in? Story on Scribd the YouTube video is of moment The Beatles went mainstream in the UK, the 1963 Royal Variety Performance; (full performance on TV here)  

Day Two; features four stories available on Scribd.

5) I Wanna Be Your Man. I spent a lot of my free time in self-organising play outdoors. This informal learning was helpful (with soft skills) but a lot of the kids were planning to make careers out of their play. Did your career come from your interests or your qualifications?  Great video featuring the Stones and The Beatles as described in the story.

6) Glad All Over (I Wanna Hold Your Hand). The Beatles phenomenal success meant that the BBC put on Top of The Pops every week for the next 42 years to play the latest hit records. My story is about blurring the boundaries between school and play and having to decide what your own canon of values are. How did you learn how to decide what has value to you?

7) HELP! is about assessment and reward at school, and believe it or not is probably the most accurate of my stories. I went to eleven schools and each had different assessment strategies, which took a few months to adjust to, and which I got wrong at my next school (see Hello Goodbye). How were you assessed, categorised, streamed and rewarded at school? Suitably enough the video features Lennon in his “fat Elvis” period period.

8) The Word (is Love) is about the balancing act between following the rules, as in HELP!, and breaking them in order that you learn about the world and have a social life. How did your friends affect how you learnt and what you learnt?

Day Three; The stories are available for download from Scribd.

9) Hello Goodbye is about choosing Universities, and more importantly what you decide to study there. I didn’t get any of my choices having moved schools and having to select from a limited set of A-level choices; Arts or Science? Both? Not allowed in the UK, hence our “Two Cultures” problem. I was at a Crossroads. How did you choose which subjects to focus on and did that effect your choice of University degree? The video  is from Magical Mystery Tour (as indeed it was for me).

10) Hey Jude; is about the complex social relations of life when you go to a Boarding School in Yorkshire (and it isnt like Hogwarts). I ran the film society, stole money from the Tuck Shop and then got asked to lead in the drama competition although I studied Math. Final year at school meant working out how to find and use our spare time. The video is The Beatles live on the David Frost show in 1968.

11) Revolution; My favourite story! Having gotten the chance to write a play and going for site-specific workshop production, I found out that my best friend’s father had known Bertholt Brecht and not easily impressed. He was a German Communist who had fought the Nazi’s whereas we thought that Revolution meant designing our own clothes. Which we did; we were self-organising our trouser design… The video is also The Beatles live on David Frost with one of John Lennon’s amazing B-sides

12) Yer Blues; Finally at the very end of school you got to be top dog and decide which records everyone else gets to listen to, and approve their choices; social control at last! Only to talk to someone from University who let you know you were a top dog in a very tiny kennel. British education is about learning your place and accepting it; you think? The video is of Lennon’s supergroup with Keith Richard, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix’s drummer Mitch Mitchell; awesome. None of them had A-levels… 

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