There is a great story that Sir Ken Robinson shared during his famous 2006 TED Talk regarding how schools kill creativity. In the video he tells us of two anecdotes involving a little girl and a little boy. And the gist of the story is that both of them separately take chances with whatever they are working on – they Give it a Go! They aren’t afraid to be wrong when they are young and they’ll take a chance. (Here is a link to that particular section of his TED Talk Sir Ken Robinson Link )
Inspired by his commitment to creativity, I have tried to model what it is like to take a chance as a leader. The last three years we have begun each year focused on the idea that LEARN is a verb. We began this by focusing on the muscles and pushing our teachers to commit to the experience of learning. We asked them to choose anything they wanted to learn about – it didn’t matter if it was connected to education at all. Rather we wanted them to simply be a learner again. I wrote about how I did this with my leadership team in a previous blog My Attempt at #GeniusHour with Adults. In any case I was now trying it with 185 teachers and 30 support staff.
“Learning is experience. Everything else is just information.” – Albert Einstein
Our second year we focused on the brain and what you did with your learning. Having engaged as a learner again, we wanted them to exercise their creativity in how they demonstrated that new knowledge. The idea was that simply learning something is no longer enough. The next step, the innovative step, is to create something new from your learning. And, perhaps, the biggest step is/was to then share it with others.
“Learning is creation not consumption.” – Dave Meier
Finally, this fall we pushed with the heart. Fortunate to have Dr Brene Brown and her team spend two days with our faculty/staff was an amazing opportunity to really push us forward. In retrospect, I believe this was definitely an act involving vulnerability as I knew some people would be thrilled and others dismissive. I processed this experience through a blog post a few months ago We are Where We are Until we Move (and sometimes that’s okay) I have seen the impact in pockets around campus, almost like seeds planted. Time and patience is what’s needed for this to flourish and saturate the campus. Our kids can only benefit so I’m in it for the long haul.
“We are born makers. We move what we are learning from our heads to our hearts through our hands.” – Dr. Brene Brown
I share all of this as I reflect on what we continue to do. Truthfully, when I embarked on this work with others, I didn’t know where it would lead. I certainly couldn’t have predicted that nearly 200 faculty/staff would share their personal learning with others, making themselves vulnerable in new ways that I doubt they anticipated. I would not have placed any bet in Vegas that Brene Brown would select us as a pilot school for her Daring Greatly Educator Workshop. And had I known about the stumbles along the way, the eye rolls that I saw, and the comments that I heard, then I doubt I would have embarked.
I heard Brian Apsinall say on a podcast the other day that “it’s okay to be where you are. It’s not okay to stay there.” So I guess I moved. I gave it a go. And I hope you will also.