Ending a POWERFUL two weeks of interactions with roughly 700 students, teachers, school administrators, and parents. I was at schools and conferences where educators gather to grow as professionals. What did these events have in common?
- We asked questions that many had not asked before.
- We included voices that are often not included in planning the strategic direction of our schools: students, from whom some of the most remarkable ideas flowed.
- We generated massive numbers and breadth of creative ideas in very short periods of time (a few minutes in many cases), and in a few minutes turned those ideas into potential actions.
- We made a huge number of professional connections by which individuals expanded their professional learning and support networks.
- We shared ideas for what is working at one school that is proving an obstacle at another. We shared the wheel rather than re-inventing it.
- We pushed the margins of thinking well outside comfort zones.
In other words, we modeled a LOT of what we want learning to look like.
My big takeaways for the week? If we can do this in relatively informal groups, just think what we can do if we intentionally collaborate frequently and intentionally? The core mechanisms of strategic problem solving that I wrote about in The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School several years ago are intensive yet understandable pathways for learners, both young and old. Best idea of the week I had never heard: if our students are increasingly doing project based work, what if we aligned research and collaboration time for these projects across subject areas to create frequent time (A half day a week? A full day every two weeks?) when large numbers of teachers can let their students work independently in groups… and gather for their own professional growth time?
Thanks to all teachers, administrators, and students I got to interact with in the last 10 days; you ARE the cognitosphere, the neural network of connected thinking that is the future of education! Let’s stop talking and start/keep acting!