Tony Gurr

Why there is no more room for the “Blame Game” in 21C LEARNing Culture…

In Educational Leadership, ELT and ELL, Our Schools, Our Universities, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness on 19/09/2013 at 10:47 pm

21C Logo TG ver 02

I know, I know

…I promised that I would stop using the phrase “21st Century LEARNing”.


SUE me (Ver 02)

OK – so glad we got that out of the way!


In one of my very first posts (seems like a lifetime or three ago…but it is, in fact, only 30 months) –  The End of the Highway – I talked about the type of organisational culture that I saw evolving over the next few years (for the Information Age and Knowledge Economyso now you see why I went with “21C” a wee bit later).

A culture, I suggested, that was characterized NOT by the “old world” my-way-or-the-highway approaches adopted by so many of the “bosses” we had when we were younger…but by a “new world” organisational culture grounded on:

21C Org Culture (ver 02)

OMG! My graphics were pretty lousy back in the day, yes?


Now, that’s a place I want to live…the kind of place I want my grandkids to LEARN within (no, just stop asking me about that bloody “manopause” thing already)!

A true LEARNing Culture for the 21st Century!


But, what happens, for example, if I meet with an untimely demise – there are many Mütevelli Heyeti Presidents out there (a few YÖK employees, too) that would not be too unhappy if Tony Hoca “disappeared” or just started sleeping with the fishes (shock-horror).

Or, perhaps…I just get eaten by Zombies

Zombie Grammar In Use


Those grandkids of mine might grow up (in canım Türkiyem, of course) with a wonderful degree of control over their mother-tongue…but be not so hot in their grand-daddy’s tongue.

Heck, they might even have to go though Hazırlık for a few months…

Hazırlık Mob (Proficiency Test)


As I suggested in my last postall is not well in the state of “hazırlık” – apathy and lack of interest in the most important medium of global communication on the part of many hazırlık students, has evolved into a zombie-like pandemic! 

Bloody hell – just typing those words scared the beejeebers outta me…

Hocam will this be on the test 

The Ottoman Empire was once described as the sick man of Europe – today, it is Hazırlık that is being described in similar terms:

Hazırlık (sick man of HEd) ver 01

In truth…all of HigherEd in canım Türkiyem…needs a check-up!


However, rather than help “fix” this very real problem – there is many a faculty lecturer, a head of department, a dean (or Vice Rector…even) within our so-called English-medium universities that would love us all to believe this (perhaps to cover the fact that their own English language skills are not that great or that they are still “delivering” English-medium “courses” in Turkish – of course, all down to the fact that the Hazırlık “Team” taught them nowt)!

These critical hazırlık stakeholders” (many of whom do not even know where the hazırlık building is) just can’t get enough of passing-the-buck – or playing…

Blame Game (TG ver)

 …you know how it goes, yes?


You also know the question that always gets asked…first!

Who is to blame


Will they never LEARN?


We could, of course, point all those fingers at the students themselves. I mean it’s not as if they don’t give us enough reasons.

Reasons, I might say, are all reinforced by the things many hazırlık teachers have been overheard sayingthunkingagain and again!

Kids today

Go on! Raise your hand, if you have NEVER said one of these…


The parents?

Yes, they started all this…

Pointing at the belly

…and dragged their kids up to be all the things they never could…be…afterall!


There is no shortage of “targets” for our fingers – just look at how many we have in both Hazırlık…and the post-Hazırlık world (remember guys…there is a life after the proficiency exam – before, too)!


…and, let’s not forget those pesky trouble-makers – Teacher Trainers!



Hang on there

Weren’t we saying something about…a 21C LEARNing Culture?


How does this “finger-pointing” fit in with a climate of collaboration… – and what were those other thingimejigs we all say we want to see in our institutions?

21C LEARNing Culture (TG ver 02 upgrade)


Heck, if we look at our websites – we ALREADY have them…ALL!


If we really believe that this type of LEARNing Culture is who we arewhat we need – is there “room” for the BLAME GAME?


Sorry about that full stop…beating off Zombies here!


Call me a “dreamer” (I take that as a compliment, BTW)!

Call me a “fool” (Mmmm, this one…not so much)!


Is it just me…acaba…that thunks…



A good start is this one:

Rather than (Peter Block)


Every single “stakeholder” in every single university across canım Türkiyem has, in some way, contributed to the pandemic spread of the Lise5 Syndrome – even the parents (and those Vice Rectors I mentioned).

And, you know what?

I’m guessing many other English-medium universities around the globe…have their own strain of the Zombie virus we have been looking at.

You can take that to the bank…




THUNKing a wee bit differently…is the key!


If we could just get to that first “question flip”, we might have a chancewe might survive!


Hey, you never know…we could then perhaps ask a few other questions:

Perhaps then (Peter Block)


That having been said…

Give LIFE a SHAKE (Ian Gilbert)


…maybe, we can just keep “living” with the “walking dead”!



NOTE from the CBO

This post is a “potted” (and updated) version of a mini-dizi I did back in May 2013 (for all you busy, busy folk). If you want to take a closer look (and consider even more “thunking questions” for the challenge that is hazırlık here in Turkey, take a look at the following posts:

  1. Regrettably the situation is not only in Turkey. When teaching and academic “success” is test driven, one may fling 21st learning devices around, but that will not change a jot in the educational process.

    It takes courage, imagination and above all, belief in change. Until then, many remain zombified.

    • I hear you Desert Rose – sadly, many of the “toys” we adopt are not fit-for-purpose. Just don’t get me started on the very nature of that “purpose”, anyways 😉

      Maybe we can make a movie soon – Cyborgs Vs. Zombies 😉

      Be good, hocam!


      • Hocam, they are not “toys” but learning, sharing. collaborative tools and platforms.

        Regrettably, in 2013, too many educators are still unaware of the learning potentials which lie at their fingertips to engage learners. I have no answer as to what lies ahead for generations currently attending formal education, but do know that educators must prep are them in Digital Literacies as best as possible.

      • I know…but I do love my toys (and so should all of us). But, my use of that word has a specific message attached.

        Did you see Tom’s recent post (“I am not a techie”) – Tom Whitby, that is. I made a comment about we TEACHers need to look at EDtech as “fun” – a fun process for our own LEARNing too. This is an important change of mindset – if we stop worrying about the tools and platforms and look at the process of LEARNing more about them a “fun journey”, this really helps.

        What do we say – “fun” is a “serious” business 😉


      • True, the challenge for educators in the classroom is to make learning “fun”; that challenge is becoming increasingly greater with so many distractions begging students for attention.

  2. I hear you both. 😉

  3. I hear you both, but the matter is not as simple as it looks. There are a lot of teachers who not only are unaware of the potential, but completely resistent to use it. And there are students who are not interested in using it for learning at all. In my opinion, it has nothing to do with the fact they aren’t really interested in learning, they are, but again it will take more than interest for them to use it fully and without anyone to guide them in the school setting. Well, pretty much a battle it will be. In our country school subjects are mandatory and curriculum are often disconected with real life and reflection. Traditional teaching aproach still rocks here, sadly. If tech is used, it is still to reproduce content or to present stuff. Even when I try to hand them the steering wheel of their own learning and a chance to discuss content and tasks, they can’t handle it. They are so used to this terrible school dynamics that anything that is different can scare them to death and for teens they get so confused and adults resistent.

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