Re-imagining school: what would my wishes be?

If I had one wish, what would it be? This is a fabulous question to ask, be it to students , teachers or admin. In terms of re-imagining school, one wish however may not be enough.

A few staff have got together this lunchtime and we are challenged with the task of responding to Sonya Terborgs blog ‘ Imagine A School’. Writing under pressure like this is a challenge in itself, so I will try to summarise my responses as quickly and as efficiently as I can!

In preparation for this session, I read the manifesto that Sonya’s blog was based on, Seth Godin’s ‘Stop Stealing Dreams’ and pulled out the ideas that resonated with me the most.

So, if I wanted to re-imagine school right now, these are some of the things that I would wish for as a teacher – I would:

  • Make dreamers the norm rather than the dangerous ones among us
  • Ask myself: Is the curriculum I teach now going to make our society stronger?
  • Amplify the passion and destroy the fear
  • Champion the brave!
  • Tell students and colleagues the truth rather than hiding things in order to protect the hierarchy and power systems in place
  • Teach young people to care
  • Create a space for students where they want to learn to do things
  • Encourage restlessness!

So, despite having listed a few wishes above, perhaps they can in fact all be incorporated into one wish after all: I would hope that I, and those responsible for educating our young people, will be able to practise the values that we believe in.

 

4 thoughts on “Re-imagining school: what would my wishes be?

  1. Hi Vicky,

    Championing the brave is something all schools could and should do more of. The reality is thinking/being/acting ‘different’ is scary for all of us, perhaps exponentially moreso for teens. So what do we do to make our school safe for change-makers? How do we drum up excitement for sharing passions?

    I believe the first step is to model it. The second step is networking students according to passion. The third step is making sure we celebrate action. That’s where your line about making our values visible becomes so important.

    If values are only communicated in print..are they really values?

    Your blogpost reminded me of a passage I read last night: Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation
    by Tim Brown

    Here’s the passage:
    “To find out whether a company is optimistic, experimental, and attuned to risk, people should simply use their senses: look for a colorful landscape of messy disorder rather than a suburban grid of tidy beige cubicles. Listen for bursts of raucous laughter rather than the constant drone of subdued conversation.”

    Are we optimistic? Does our school demonstrate a keen awareness that our students have the potential to change the world? Do our students FEEL that we feel that way about them?

    You’ve provoked a number of questions for me with your post, thank you for that! Instead of worrying only about ‘not stealing dreams,’ you remind us that we need to do more–we need to ensure we are sparking dreams.

    Kind Regards,
    Tricia

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  2. Hi Vicky – Your post was so inspirational and I love the last wish. Learning within a school is never for the pupils alone. We all learn and from that we all grow. I love learning and I know it happens everyday because of the students and staff I work with. My hope is that pupils feel as supported as I do and that they realise how inspirational and knowledgeable they are!

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  3. As I read your post, visions of Dweck’s Mindset Theory kept coming to mind…how to we shift the culture of learning at our school more in the direction of a growth mindset, where dreamers are the norm and we’re championing the brave? Certainly modeling the growth mindset is key, but again, how do schools do that more effectively? Promoting something like growth mindset as a value is a good start, but how do we turn it into more explicit practice? As Tricia alluded to above, if we have values only written on paper, of course they’re not our values. And I think shifting a culture more to one which embraces diversity and failure and growth is certainly one of the most important elements to consider when working toward an “ideal” school. Practicing those values is key.

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