CHANGEd 60-60-60: QUIET

Thinking about CHANGEd: What if we empowered the introverts before trying to change them? 60-60-60 #8 and reflecting…

“SOLITUDE is out of fashion. Our companies, our schools and our culture are in thrall to an idea I call the New Groupthink, which holds that creativity and achievement come from an oddly gregarious place. Most of us now work in teams, in offices without walls, for managers who prize people skills above all. Lone geniuses are out. Collaboration is in.” ~ Susan Cain in The Rise of the New Groupthink (NYT)

A colleague of mine shared the story of how every teacher at her former school took ten to fifteen minutes in the morning for quiet and reflection. Not just for the adults. But for the children too. Not always first thing. But always at some point during the school day. During the first week of this experiment that is now expectation, one student skeptically asked, “You mean we really just get time to think inside our own brains?” When the teacher answered affirmatively, the largest smile spread across the first grader’s face.

If we know that solitude is often a critical ingredient to creativity, what if we spent more time teaching students how to be as comfortable with quiet solitude as they are with the buzz of collaboration. If we don’t, I suspect that we will be forever be drowning in our own noise, just as Evan Brockman describes in his 3.14.12 edu180atl post:

There is a common saying in public health that goes something like this: “We can stand by the river and pull out those who are drowning one by one, but we can also go upstream and find out why so many people are falling in the river in the first place.” As a pediatrician, I meet many children (and their parents) who are ”drowning” so to speak, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it feels like a giant game of Over/Under. We are over-scheduled/under-challenged, overfed/undernourished, overworked/under-compensated…….you get the idea.


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