It’s Halloween soon. For some it’s time to carve pumpkins, dress up and get some treats ready for the kiddies. For others, it’s time to barricade themselves in their houses and pretend there is nobody at home when the bell rings, whilst wishing Halloween had stayed across the pond, where it surely belongs.
Indeed, many people’s rejection of this relatively new event in British calendars seems to be based on the grounds that Halloween – as we know it today – is an American import. But never mind the fact Halloween is actually an ancient Celtic tradition and never mind the fact that most of the other, so called, native British traditions – from tea drinking (China, 18th century) to Christmas trees (Germany, 19th century) – are both imported and properly foreign. Why such visceral rejection of a new trend?
I think the answer is that we seem to be hardwired to be suspicious of the different and the new. I think this is why new trends are slow to be accepted: it is, after all, someone else’s idea and not our own – innovation’s number one stumbling block.
In my mind, one can easily draw parallels between our instinctive reaction to the new and different at a cultural level and the adoption of innovative teaching practices in our schools: an initial adverse reaction, followed by grudging adoption and finally culminating in acceptance in the isn’t-it-great-this-was-my-idea-all-along fashion.
Take social media as an example. Schools, by and large, tend to reject its use. Much like Halloween, it is seen as a threat to our own way but, much like Halloween, schools are grudgingly starting to adopt it as they realise the truth that was staring them in the face all along: all our students are already on board.
Right then, off I go to carve some pumpkins with my children…
What do you think?
Thanks to Laughing Easy for his wonderful pumpkin photo.