I have been on the road a considerable amount in the last month so I have decided to blog on stuff that has inspired me and write in a spontaneous manner so the “you should read…” post that I have tried to write on a weekly basis has been something that I have skipped in the last couple of weeks. I still think that it is important to share what I have been catching on Twitter and learning from others.
1. 7 Kinds of Thinking Keeping Your School or District from Transformation -This article by John Robinson was fascinating and he is ideas shared are fantastic, but what I like most about this post was that he actually offered “antidotes” on how to cure each ailment:
“We’ve always done it this way thinking.” In public education, I have found this kind of thinking the most common. You can easily run up against this thinking by simply questioning a policy or procedure, or by suggesting a new way of doing something….The best antidote for this kind of thinking? Asking the simple “Why” question. If the answer is, “Because we’ve always done it this way,” then the underlying rationale might be suspect..
Many people will read this and think of someone they should send it to. Administrators may blame teachers, teachers blame administrators, schools blame government, etc., and so on and so forth. I truly believe that we should look at ourselves first, especially in this context and ask what are embodying to others and giving “solutions” as John offers, as opposed to simply discuss problems.
I tweeted the below in a discussion and I believe it is essential to school transformation:
— George Couros (@gcouros) November 4, 2012
The more I connect with educators, the more I am loving that they are seeing that they are part of the solution.
2. Why Kids Need School to Change – A fantastic article discussing the importance of what we do in our schools and the need to change in our current environment.
The current structure of the school day is obsolete, most would agree. Created during the Industrial Age, the assembly line system we have in place now has little relevance to what we know kids actually need to thrive.
Most of us know this, and yet making room for the huge shift in the system that’s necessary has been difficult, if not impossible because of fear of the unknown, says educator Madeline Levine, author of Teach Your Children Well.
“People don’t like change, especially in times of great uncertainty,” she said. “People naturally go conservative and buckle down and don’t want to try something new. There are schools that are trying to do things differently, and although on the one hand they’re heralded as having terrific vision, they’re still seen as experimental.”
The author offers the idea of “project based learning, alternative assessment, scheduling, climate of care, and parent education” as ways to improving school. What would you suggest regarding these ideas? What would you add or change?
3. 7 Basic Types of Stories – I am fascinated about the role of stories in the current context of schools and I love watching what organizations outside of education do to leverage this. You can easily take an hour to go through this post, but I think that there are some pretty engaging ideas. Does the following quote apply to schools?
“Brands are stories,” he said. “They want to embody a story. When we start working with a client, we don’t want to take a brief. We don’t want to just say, ‘What’s your problem?’ We want to go right back to, ‘Why was your company started? What’s your mission?’ We talk about mission all the time, and it’s just another way of saying, ‘What kind of story are you on? What kind of story do you want to tell?’ … Part of our job as an agency is to reignite that and really figure out what that story is.”
I would love your thoughts so I can further my own learning in this area.
BONUS –> Just as something that I would like to share as one of those videos that makes me smile every single time I see it, I thought that I would share this video from “The Flight of the Conchords” which is guaranteed to make you smile (I will buy you ice cream if it doesn’t). You can also get the karaoke version of the song if you want to sing it with your kids
Have a great week!