Thinking about What if we dreamed (and attempted) the impossible? 60-60-60 #32 and reflecting…

Just today, I read two excellent blog posts. I’ve had these two excerpts (one short and the other long) swirling in my head all day and now as I reflect on Bo’s 32nd CHANGEd post.

Institutions will try to preserve the problem for which they are the solution.
~Clay Shirky in How We Will Read

Consider the “Turning the Ocean Liner” metaphor to describe school change. I have described and have heard many people describe changing a school to be like trying to turn the QE2: “it might turn,” we say, “but it will not turn quickly.” My issue with this metaphor is that it implies that everything has to turn slowly and in perfect harmony. We should not feel confined in the same way we would be confined on a ship. Today I am making a pledge to abandon that metaphor (“Abandon Ship!”) as it seems to give us a ready-made excuse for slowing down, or giving up on, priorities we have named as being mission-driven and strategic. The metaphor slows us down because it traps our thinking—it becomes an accurate metaphor because we have chosen to believe it. From now on schools are not big ships. Schools are challenging enough without having them have to be ships as well.
~Ross Peters in Creating a Progress Culture One Pilot at a Time

Seth Godin asks us to consider perfect and impossible. “If you are in love with the perfect, prepare to see it swept away. If you are able to dream of the impossible, it just might happen,” he writes.

I keep thinking back to Frederick Hess’s book entitled Education Unbound: The Promises and Pitfalls of Greenfield Schooling. I know that I find myself on the new thinking and new forms (vs rethinking and reforms) side of the fence most often, and I certainly don’t see schools as “perfect” in their current state. So it’s not a surprise that I like the idea of greenfield reform.

ASCD published the first chapter of Hess’s book here. It’s worth a read. And I think it provides a way to start thinking about making the impossible possible.


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