From Nancy Duarte’s Resonate, which, by the way, is one of the best books I own, especially in it’s multi-touch book format.
Dan Roam, author of Back of the Napkin, says that, ‘The person who has the ability to verbally describe a problem has a great talent – but also a great limitation. All the real problems of today are multidimensional, multifaceted, and deeply layered. There is no way to fully understand them – thus no way to effectively begin solving them – without at some point literally drawing them out.’
Imagine contemplating a significant remodel or renovation of your home (or school). Now, imagine only dealing in words and verbal descriptions with the various sub-contractors: builders, electricians, HVAC, lighting, flooring, plumbing, casing and carpentry, technology, etc. Also, imagine only naming the remodeling specifics in general-goals terminology. Now, imagine not providing much time, space, or opportunity for these people to ask questions, engage in R&D, meet together and discuss, sketch ideas and check understanding, develop shared knowledge around the transformation, etc. No blueprints, images, infographics, design elements, or visuals. Only words. Inadequate discussion.
How do you think the remodel or renovation would turn out?
Follow-up questions…the deeper thought experiment:
How are schools – those with the greatest intentions and people; those that truly recognize and accept their need for change – how are they going about the transformations of their teaching and learning cores/corps?
Could you show me the designs, blueprints, images, and visuals for those fundamentally important modifications? (I could not have done so as a school principal, and I regret that – I consider it a major failing that I am now working to resolve and re-prototype.)
Can you show dedicated time, space, and regular opportunity for the various members of your school team – faculty, admin, parents, students, etc. – to meet to talk, compare notes, ask questions, attend “practice or rehearsals,” develop shared understanding, etc.? (We did work really hard at this during my last principalship. The Junior High faculty deserves so much credit here for the collaborative, professional-learning-community work that was accomplished.)
How might we commit to and devote the same vigor for community engagement and transformation design in our teaching and learning core/corp that we use in our physical building and campus development?
It works in architecture and urban planning. It can work in ed transformation, too.