1. Suzie Boss has a fantastic name.
2. She lays out the foundations for classrooms trafficking in ideas, innovations, and accomplishments.
Please, take the time to read her brief, pithy rationales for each of the following.
1. WELCOME AUTHENTIC QUESTIONS.
2. ENCOURAGE EFFECTIVE TEAMWORK.
3. BE READY TO GO BIG.
4. BUILD EMPATHY.
5. UNCOVER PASSION.
6. AMPLIFY WORTHY IDEAS.
7. KNOW WHEN TO SAY NO.
8. ENCOURAGE BREAKTHROUGHS.
— Suzie Boss, from from Bringing Innovation to School: Empowering Students to Thrive in a Changing World, published in July by Solution Tree.
I want to point out a couple of observations about this list and add a notion or two of my own.
Observation A: Verbage. These are actions. Boss class upon educators to DO something in these classrooms, and more importantly, empower students to DO something. Much of the 20th century was passive reception. Let’s get the 21st Century started right.
Observation B: Project-based or no, mass customized or no, common cored or no, what Boss describes are good places to be. Good places to live. Good places to work with other individuals. Turn those actions into values and haven’t we all but described an ideal place to learn and grow, to work and play? I don’t mean to sound utopian here, but what more could one ask for in a classroom than that?
Okay. I could ask for one or two other things. They are small though. Important. Small.
Wicked Decent Learning’s Amendments to Suzie Boss’ Otherwise Fantastic and Inspiring Set of Principles for Creating Idea Factories in Our Classroom
Amendment #1: MAKE SOMETHING
As I mentioned above, we spent an inordinate amount of time in traditional classrooms, acting as passive receivers of knowledge and understanding. And this carried over into the rest of our lives, our worlds — we have largely become passive consumers of media and culture. The tide can shift however. We have technology, access and time on our side now for our students to become creators, makers, originators — not just of ideas but material “stuff.” Successful classrooms are those where students emerge with products as well as thoughts.
Amendment #2: CALCULATE RISK & FAIL BY DESIGN
Nothing ventured and nothing gained. Students — heck, most adults — all right, myself, primarily myself — struggle..s.. (bad grammar moment there) with resiliency. We want success, we want it now, and if it anything stands in the way of it — well, we aren’t necessarily going to give it everything we have. We might get knocked down and stay down. Classrooms should be the safest harbors for failure and the most supportive sources of recovery. Into the future, students need to know the risks they face in grappling with innovation and be shown it is okay to take the time to crash, burn, and rebuild.
I’ll be sharing all of these with my 10 IPBL/MCL/We Really Need a Better Name for this Pilot at the end of next week. I think we are about to start building something pretty special.
For more about the project-based learning, mass customized learning pilot my students developed and will pilot this coming year, visit here.
For more about Suzie Boss’ work, visit here.