Creation Nation

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Today Kat and I had a Google Hangout with Grant Lichtman author of The Falconer and it was pretty great! What we talked about really made me think, but also it was cool because it was just Kat and I, not all of ID that did this. We talked about our passion and found out that others care too, so we connected and got to have some amazing discussions about something we genuinely care about. This post is mainly a reflection on the thoughts sparked from this conversation.

Why can’t the world look like Mr. Usher?

Ever since I started reading The Falconer I’ve been thinking about this, and Mr. Lichtman gave a great little phrase for his answer, “If we had ham, we could have ham and eggs if we had eggs.”

Mr. Usher is a story, a myth, a fantasy. His world, does not actually exists anywhere today. I want school to look like Mr. Usher’s classes because I want to fill my quiver with a myriad of different arrows that I will need to thrive in the world, and in my mind what school is designed for is getting to college, not filling my quiver. This is my problem; my dissonance. Luckily, I love a good problem because it is really just an opportunity in disguise.

Now the underlying problem to me solving my problem is that not everyone wants what I want from school. Some people want to just focus on taking APs and getting into college. The conversation on redesigning education has grown a ton since the 80s when Mr. Lichtman published The Falconer. Back then people thought he was crazy, but he didn’t write the book for other people, he wrote it because “when something is inside of you, you just have to get it out,” and it happens that a few other students out there wanted it too.

I really admire and respect this answer because that is exactly why I blog; I don’t blog because other people want me to, or because someone is going to give me a number followed by a letter that is suppose to capture my learning. I blog because I have thoughts that I need to get out of my head and try to make sense of. I could care less about who else cares because what is important is that I care.

Now, while the conversation has grown since the 80s, there are still a relatively small number of people that are actually trying to do something about the redesign, and then there are more that want to do something but don’t know how, and then there are still over 50% of people that think there is no reason for schools to be changing.

With every new conversation I have I start to believe further into the idea that you can’t force people into a conclusion. Not everyone learns the same way or has the same world views, and the way we are educated is a huge part of how you view the world. When you think about it, there are really 3 model possibilities for schooling:

  1. same standard way (Old Schooling)
  2. completely set up with the mindsets of The Falconer and ID (New Schooling)
  3. or somewhere in between (Half Schooling)

I wonder if MVPS is trying too hard to force people into believing that the New Schooling method is the “correct method”. What if it isn’t? We can’t prove that New Schooling will truly make kids more prepared for the real world, we can only hope based off of the logic we have used.

Is there a way to more freely let people decide what is best for them personally? Is there a way to have different tracks for different world views, or do they have to be mutually exclusive?

Take design thinking for example. Design thinking is like one set of arrows in the quiver.

Asking all teachers to redesign their courses so that they have design thinking in their class is much different than trying to incorporate little steps and methodology of what the purpose of design thinking is into a class. Design thinking is great, but it isn’t all about “we are taking these steps so we can get better end products”. Design thinking, at least should, be about learning skills for the world that you can put in your quiver, which in turn often leads to better results.

But when doing anything we must accept that we will fail. We should not however strive to fail. Failing stinks. It’s pretty painful sometimes and not fun at all. When we do fail we want to learn from the failure, but that doesn’t mean we try to fail in order to learn.

The sad truth is that the world isn’t Disney World. It isn’t easy to make a change. It takes slow, hard work most of the time. At MVPS we have really moved fast into the world of rethinking education, and that has effected me because I still have experienced this slower process due to the fast pace I’ve come accustomed to.

As far as where to go next I don’t exactly know, but I did have a realization.

Not everyone wants this change of schooling because everyone has different world views, so maybe the first step for me should be figuring out how to make what I want happen for me and the people I know that want it too. Then when others see what we are doing, maybe they will come to the conclusion on their own that they want to join the movement and I’d be happy to help them join the Creation Nation.

(This is a new term I’ve been thinking about, that has probably been used before, but I don’t really care if it has or hasn’t. Creation Nation: A term to describe the people that want school to fill their quiver with the skills necessary to learn, do, and create with the understanding of the inevitable failure, yet have the ability to keep trying even after failure and criticism from people that think they are crazy. They do what they do not because others say so, but because they have something they just have to get out and want to help create for the people of today and tomorrow.)

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