Day 133 (of 184) risk taking
Tonight I shared our learning communities journey into eportfolios with our Board of Education. One of the key themes that came out was the importance of establishing cultures where people feel safe taking risks.
We admitted that we don’t have all the answers to ‘where we are going’ in our transition from report cards to eportfolios, but that is something we knew when we started this journey – we knew that while there were exemplars of educators doing eportfolios AND report cards, there were few who were focusing solely on the portfolio piece and the formative assessment that it supports.
It came out nice and loud from one of our trustees who was pleased that we a) had a tool that allowed us to highlight student strengths (via two stars & a wish and descriptive feedback) and b) that when students did ‘fail’ it wasn’t seen as a negative – I agreed with her highlighting that we have a primary teacher who has a cheer for when students make mistakes AND that we like to see FAIL as standing for First Attempts In Learning (saw a couple jot that down).
It also was very clear, that I am able to model a learning environment that promotes risk taking and innovations because that is the larger context I am working/living in: a school district that is not just talking the talk of “be innovative” but walking the walk and giving the support needed to try something ‘a little different’ (or a lot different).
It’s amazing how much an environment that supports educational risk taking mirrors a feedback loop – regular checkins are needed, and when that happens, the growth is phenomenal. It’s what allows classrooms to support ‘disruptions’ such as #geniushour, flipped classrooms, Soles. It’s what allows schools to pilot eportfolios, no homework ideologies and no-grades. It’s what allows school districts to……do things different. Not because what was/has been done was wrong, but because the future (present?) is so different from the way things ‘were’…
I appreciate how Steve Wozniak put it in his autobiography – once certain (metaphorical) doors were opened to him, and he passed through and new ideas took hold, he could not close the door nor the ideas that had changed …. everything. I also appreciate a picture of Henry Ford I’ve seen on twitter a number of times today (serendipity?) where he states “if I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses” and opted to take a risk. And completing my Apple Loop even Steve Jobs said “You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it build they’ll want something new”. In all cases – a risk had to be taken. In all cases, they didn’t actually do ‘it’ by themselves.
We have an acronym for FAIL – now we need one for RISK
Respectful Intrinsic Student Knowledge? The challenge is on! Don’t worry – be safe in sharing…take a ……well, you know.