THE shortest route to a school with powerful, sustainable innovation capacity is to hire the right people. So I was so excited that, on a short-planned visit to Design 39 Campus, they were “interviewing” a prospective new faculty hire by throwing her right into the deep end of the pool: organize a design challenge with 25 second graders while we observe!
A young girl at the first table group confidently told me that her small team was “designing a machine to bring fresh oxygen to the Himalayas by scrubbing out excess carbon dioxide”. At the next table a boy explained that they were designing a raft to safely traverse the Grand Canyon, and at a third the challenge involved an inexpensive, large-scale flotation system for poor villages impacted by catastrophic flooding.
One of the D39C veterans told me: “We are not looking to see if the candidate can check the boxes of running an efficient design challenge; that is actually pretty easy. We want to see if they can launch from that point into new directions of learning based on how the students respond to the challenge”.
If your school is serious about transforming to a deeper learning system, re-imagine your hiring practices!! The ability to stand and lecture, demonstrate subject knowledge for an hour, or “control” a classroom will not contribute to creating a dynamic team of adults who can navigate change in an ever-increasingly VUCA world.
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