This past weekend Abbas Husain was at the 33rd SPELT Conference in Karachi, a gathering that attracts educators and teachers from over the city, along with several international guests.
Abbas Husain’s keynote speech on ‘The Glocal Classroom’ expounded on the idea of ‘liquid modernity’. Borrowing from the work of Zygmunt Bauman, he explained how civilisation has shifted from solid modernity — the advent of machines, concrete structures, the tangible manifestations of racing progress — to a liquid modernity — where, for example, the power of the internet can be employed to harness information and knowledge across borders.
How should educationists respond in a time of these great shifts? We are not moving towards liquid modernity, says Abbas Husain, we are already here! We must stop analysing our methologies from the lens of our own times. We must not repeat the past, we must be willing to adapt to this new world.
Liquid modernity is like a substance that takes the shape of the container it is filled — it is ever changing, and it is not tangible.
And what a better example of molding our ways to the needs of liquid modernity than the SPELT conference itself — bringing teachers together from across borders; creating a space where someone sitting in Karachi can learn from an educator in the UK and vice versa. This easy exchange of knowledge is indeed a triumph of liquid modernity.