Old school: “Don’t ever ask a question of the audience unless you are sure of the answer.”
New school: “Learn to be flexible; deal with ambiguity and the unknown.”
I took these yesterday at a meeting for prospective parents of the new Design 39 Campus K-8 in Poway Unified, opening in 2014. (I posted more about the process of these parents meetings last week, so will not repeat here.) Bottom line: ask parents what they want, set up a design-thinking environment, and what do you get? Engagement, excitement, noise, energy, collaboration, and great ideas that are a wonderful articulation and validation of what we are calling transformative learning. Oh, yeah, and John Dewey would fit in just fine.
Key: the D39C team did NOT put up their mission statement until AFTER the parents had posted their own ideas. Result: huge agreement between what parents want and how the school will be designed. Did they know this going in? No; they took a risk. I worked at a successful private school for 15 years and we were afraid to open a community discussion like this. Afraid of listening to your customers? That is old school.