"If others are busy deciding what metrics ought to matter to you, you have given up something precious indeed." (61)
- Seth Godin (The Icarus Deception)
This applies in life and in education.
How are we deciding what is important? Who is involved? Where are all the stakeholders?
Success is relative to the path you tread.
People often think that the best way to predict the future is by collecting as much data as possible before making a decision. But this is like driving a car looking only in the rearview mirror - because data is only available about the past.
- Clayton Christensen (How Will You Measure Your Life?)
I’m much chagrinned by the people who use the past to predict the future, especially now, when the future is changing at such a quick pace.
Is there a place for data? Absolutely, however, it is not a strong predictor of future excellence. Post-secondary institutions, if they want to stay relevant through innovation and creativity, may have to stop looking at past data and instead develop a system to discover potential.
The system is responsible in proportion to the degree that the people who make the decisions bear the consequences.
- Charlie Munger
The mechanisms involved in educational decision making rarely leave the decision maker to bear the consequence. More often it is the student, or the teacher.
How do we create a system where the leader has to stand under the arch?
(“An example of a really responsible system is the system the Romans used when they built an arch. The guy who created the arch stood under it as the scaffolding was removed. It’s like packing your own parachute.” - Charlie Munger)
To find something new, you have to first be lost.
I’ve been thinking about this “lost” phase of learning and of discovering. How de we foster the willingness to turn off the GPS and just go, in hope that we may get lost at some point? How does universal curriculum support/hinder that problem?
The seven principles of good feedback:
1. Clarify what good performance is
2. Facilitate reflection and self-assessment in learning
3. Deliver high-quality feedback information that helps learners self-correct
4. Encourage teacher–learner and peer dialogue
5. Encourage positive motivational beliefs and self-esteem
6. Provide opportunities to act on feedback
7. Use feedback from learners to improve teaching
Taken from (http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/programmes/elearning/digiassass_eada.pdf)
We tend to think of feedback as something a teacher provides, but if students are to become independent lifelong learners, they have to become better at judging their own work.
Is this skill in each curriculum? It should be.
This fits into the ever-changing role of the teacher. If we move judgement, do we more accurately encourage and foster risk-taking, creativity and innovative thinking?
The feedback loop that informs me as a learner includes an opportunity of reflection, judgment and improvement. This skill needs to be including in our instruction.
1. The ability to think empirically, not theoretically.
“constantly checking one’s views against evidence from the real world, and the courage to change positions if better explanations come along.”
2. The ability to think in terms of multiple, rather than single, causes.
“simple comparisons become unreliable guides to action, because the effects of intervening variables haven’t been screened out.”
3. The ability to think in terms of the sizes of things, rather than only in terms of their direction.
“decisions in a world with constrained resources always demand a sense of the sizes of various effects.”
4. The ability to think like foxes, not hedgehogs.
“hedgehogs, who know one big thing and apply that understanding to everything around them, and foxes, who know many small things and pragmatically apply a “grab bag” of knowledge to make modest predictions about the world.”
5. The ability to understand one’s own biases.
“we are full of unconscious biases, and a failure to understand these biases contributes to poor decision-making.”
I knew exactly what I had to do. It might cost me my job, my career, and my reputation, but following your heart doesn’t really make allowances for such paltry concerns.
-Terry Fallis in Up and Down
How easy it is to mistake what’s easy for what’s right.
At the end of the day or the end of my life, I will be that which I believe. I hold my heart in the highest priority. Why do we shy from that?
It is often the hardest steps that are most worth making.
I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.
-Neil Degrasse Tyson
I’d like to think that this is the underpinning of modern public education. Some days, I witness that everywhere.
Too often, I see people who are motivated to achieve for the purpose of getting more for themselves.
Learn and work for others. That’s education.
He said to me I was a tree in a story about a forest, and that it was arrogant of me to believe any differently. And he told me the story of the forest is better than the story of the tree.
- Donald Miller (@donaldmiller) in the book “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years”
Too often we are struck by our own importance and miss the bigger story.
I believe it’s true that the right people can say words that change everything. And guess what? We’re the ones who can say them.
- Bob Goff (@bobgoff) from the book “Love Does”
Words matter. Tell the people that do the little things thank you. Tell people they’ve made you smile. Tell people that they’ve made a positive difference. Tell people they inspire you.
The words you share with the ones around you, ripple into eternity.
(1) Most people want to feel that issues are simple rather than complex, (2) want to have their prejudices confirmed, (3) want to feel that they ‘belong’ with the implication that others do not, and (4) need to pinpoint an enemy to blame for their frustrations.
- J.A.C. Brown
I think we need to remember that everything, from political to personal decisions, are always complex, listening to like-minded people only reinforces - never teaches, solidarity sometimes comes with a price and that our frustrations are often a reflection of ourselves.
But that’s just how I look at it.
Obstructive conservatism - closed minded arrogance
Tal Golesworthy TEDxKrakow
Though Golesworthy was talking about medicine and engineering, I think the idea of obstructive conservatism exists in most professional disciplines. It is that subtle arrogance that we might as well keep it as it is because that’s what we’ve been doing.
So, how do we combat this obstructive conservatism?
Leading the pack for the past few years has been the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, representing 284,000 of Ontario’s active and retired school teachers. At the start of 2010, Ontario’s teachers’ pension fund held over $90 million in investments in Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest military producer.
- Samantha Nutt, Damned Nations
Incredulously, we teach tolerance and peace. Yet, we hypocritically fund the war machine. Many of the weapons produced end up, at one time or another, in the hands of militias filled with child soldiers. Are we okay with this?
All in the name of our financial security…
"If we build a game in which someone is demotivated or disengaged for 45 seconds, we know we need to improve." Forty-five seconds! Imagine if we thought this way in education.
Shantanu Sinha (Huffington Post
What is the threshold the system thinks about? 10 minutes, 15, 45?