Tapestry pinpoints the way forward

Tes Editorial

I have followed with interest the correspondence between Dr Brian Boyd and David Eastwood on the subject of "brain-based learning". As chair of Fife Council's children's services committee and education spokesperson for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, I would have to say that far from being "fads", as Eastwood claims, mindmapping, emotional intelligence and rightleft brain learning offer a way forward in meeting the educational aspirations of teachers and young people in Scotland's schools.

Dr Boyd, along with his colleague Katrina Bowes, has in recent months offered an alternative vision for Scottish education through the Tapestry initiative.

For the first time in living memory, there is a working alliance of three of the major teacher education institutions, COSLA, the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland, Learning and Teaching Scotland, BBC Education, the Scottish Further Education Unit, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and others, to bring leading edge educational research to Scotland.

Not only has Tony Buzan committed himself to work with Tapestry, but Howard Gardner, David Perkins, Carla Hannaford, Leslie Kenton and Reuven Feurerstein have all agreed to bring their expertise to bear on the improvement agenda.

Home-based talent like Professor Nigel Osborne is leading the music-and-the-mind strand of Tapestry's vision, using his world-wide reputation to bring international experts on music and learning to Scotland.

Indeed, there is now a real possibility of a national initiative to promote creativity in all aspects of lifelong learning.

Where David Eastwood is undoubtedly correct is that we need to underpin all of this with rigorous research and evaluation. The Scottish Executive Education Department has already indicated an interest in funding such research and councils across Scotland are signalling their willingness to take a leading role in such endeavours.

We could be on the cusp of a real breakthrough here. We might soon be in a position to empower those people involved in lifelong learning to use the latest research findings, critically, to inform their practice.

I am sure that my council will be in the vanguard of such work. Let us hope that the SEED will make it a national initiative.

Councillor Helen Law

Chair of Children's Services

Fife Council.

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