Fear of “deep space” and exploring 10 expectations

As educators, what are we doing to confront our fears about school transformation? About those shifts that are making school feel different than the school we experienced… the school that the parents of our students experienced? In what ways are we responding to these fears versus hunkering down because of perceived “danger?”

How are we exploring our space? The “space” that is all around us in our schools, communities, real-world surroundings, etc. The less-well lit areas of differently designed curricular organizations, assessment strategies, and learner-directed “pathing.”

These two videos are strongly connected for me. One is “Chris Hadfield: What I learned from going blind in space?” It’s a rather beautiful investigation of fear vs. danger, and it puts our earthly “fears” in a different perspective – if you listen and empathize deeply enough.

The second video is “10 Expectations” from Leaving ToLearn (HT @SciTechyEdu). It details 10 expectations that students have for their school-learning experience. And yet not too many school cultures really shape up to meet such student expectations. Why is that? Who is school for? What is the purpose of school anyway?

Are our resistances to exploring and engaging transformation because of real danger? Fear? From the adults?

How might we venture out and explore, experiment, and exchange our fears for new adventures and deeper understandings of our own “deep space?”

Being called and curious. Being an explorer. Widening our options.

“Certainly to enter a world of terror, you should not be pushed by someone. You should be called. You should be curious. You should have the heart of an explorer.” — Philippe Petit, high-wire artist (from here)

In Dan and Chip Heath’s newest book, Decisive, they illuminate a process for making better decisions. It’s called W.R.A.P.

W = Widen Your Options

R = Reality-Test Your Assumptions

A = Attain Distance Before Deciding

P = Prepare to Be Wrong

On the Heath Brothers’ site, one can register and gain access to some great resources. One of them is a one-pager summary of the WRAP process.

For “W” —

Screen Shot 2013-08-01 at 5.56.14 AMIn looking for “analogies from related domains,” I often turn to TED and NPR. Recently, I listened to the TED Radio Hour feature called “To The Edge” – a curation of talks about exploration.

Many people talk about “fear of the unknown” and our “V.U.C.A.” world (Volatile, Uncertain, Chaotic, Ambiguous). While the future of schooling is not a “world of terror” in any way, shape, or form, in my opinion, I wonder if some view it that way, even if subconsciously.

As for me, I feel called. I feel curious.

I am an explorer.

And I am grateful to be a member of a team that believes in systemic exploration – driven by curiosity – to generate increasingly better models of school-based learning and education.

I learn a lot about my role and my calling and my curiosity by approaching educational innovation as an explorer.

How might we enhance the manner in which we systemically explore innovation in schools? 

One idea (among many) – BE an explorer! Encourage systemic exploration and nurture methods and manners to explore educational enhancement AS a school team and community.

Most, if not all, schools highlight the explorers and inventors in world and U.S. history, mathematics, science, etc. How many of us are practicing exploration and invention, as an organization – intentionally, purposefully? How are we creating time and space for exploration and invention?

Here’s to being called out on that high-wire, to that summit, for that row across the ocean. (You’ll just have to listen to To The Edge, if those references make you… curious.)