The Way it Ought to Be

This post was last updated on September 5th, 2011 at 11:03 am

I'm at Educon.
If you're not familiar with Educon, it's a conference/conversation hosted by Chris Lehmann and the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, PA.

I was fortunate to be able to spend Thursday and Friday hanging around the school. Here's what I saw:

  • Lots of smiles.
  • Loud classrooms
  • A principal's office that looked more like grand central with equal numbers of staff and students talking and working, coming and going
  • Teachers who discussed personal issues with students
  • A brief power outage that didn't paralyze learning despite them being a 1:1 school
  • A lack of emphasis on technology
  • Students occasionally off task
  • Students excited to talk with adults

None of these things are particularly amazing and are all things you could find in many, if not all schools in North America.  I didn't see one thing that couldn't  be done almost anywhere. The teachers are good teachers but they aren't doing anything I haven't seen before. So what's the big deal?

There are many more observations and insights that one would make beyond the few I've listed but I'm not sure that any additions would tell us that "… Read the rest

Rules aren’t the answer

This post was last updated on December 12th, 2011 at 03:16 pm

Thanks to a comment from Bill Ferriter, I finally took the time to watch Barry Schwartz’ recent TED talk. Schwartz talk on the Paradox of Choice remains one of my favourites but this one might surpass it.

For a great synopsis of the talk check out Rob Jacob’s post.

As Bill connected my post on worthless pursuits to this talk, I continue to believe how important it is for us to devise organizations that are focused on responsibility rather than accountability.  Accountability infers rules. Responsibility infers caring.

I’m reminded of friends of ours who are a few years older than us and when we were young parents, they talked to us about their approach to parenting. They told us they had very few rules. They preferred to invest time in developing guidelines and developed understandings with their kids that made sense to everyone. It didn’t mean their kids always did the right things but the discussions and time spent was on values and relationships, not maintaining or rewriting rules. Reminds me of SLA. I understand that many view this approach as idealistic but not realistic … Read the rest