Day 155 (of 184) no we can’t vs no we won’t
Reading Malcolm Gladwells “David and Goliath” has made me do a lot of thinking (which it is supposed to do) about the “underdog” – who may not be as much of one as first appearance would let on… underdogs often take an unconventional approach to a conflict…!
Speaking of conflicts, today I was reading the section about wealth & raising children. Specifically the challenge that can come from coming into ‘too much’ – and the conversations in parenting shifting from “we can’t” to “we won’t”. The latter needing much more conversation that the former.
When you “can’t” afford something – that’s an end statement (unless a trade-off is negotiated based on needs vs wants). It’s easy. Say it a couple of times, and the question eventually gets dropped.
When you “won’t” afford something – there is more to it – just because you ‘could’ afford (a new car, front row tickets to a concert, etc) doesn’t mean you ‘ought’ to – and that requires a conversation. It also requires communicating your values – and knowing how to articulating them into something understandable (esp by the child that wants something that is ‘affordable’).
It also made me think about the cultures of schools of which we are part of. Sometimes we have “No we can’t” discussions but the “won’t” chats are much more …. difficult…. and sometimes much more interesting!
Consider the following “Education Questions” as Can’t or Won’ts?
WE _______ use homework for marks.
I _________ use technology in my classroom.
WE _________ use formative assessment.
I __________ use summative assessment.
YOU _________ get the resources you want/need.
The meanings and discussions go very differently.
It is why at our school, I try to establish “cultures of yes” – not meaning that we avoid the can’t/won’t discussions, but rather that we start from a place of “sure, now let’s look at it”. Could we have a pony at our school? Sure….but who will look after feeding and watering and etc? What about summers? It leads into a discussion about the suggestion/request, but looks at the possible obstacles.
By the way, this pony question was a legitimate request we looked into at one of my schools, with its focus being a therapy animal. We had fencing picked out, a boarder who would look after it during “school closed” times…but we did hit a couple of “can’ts” we couldn’t overcome…..yet….!
I am enjoying the book and am recommending others give it a read. It is making me think about:
using ‘the press’ if I end up coaching my daughters junior girls basketball team next year.
while there are problems with classrooms that are too big – there are often problems with classrooms that get too small
there is a value to overcoming obstacles, but there are many times when the obstacles block success (I sometimes wonder if personalizing education via #geniushour et al isn’t doesn’t give the students something to ‘overcome’ or ‘prove wrong’)
The myth of the underdog is more offset by understanding “more of the story” – either a different approach taken, or point of view being shared….
David was not an underdog to Goliath. Goliath was a foot soldier (probably nearsighted), while David was a slinger, and in battles, slingers (the equivalent of a handgun) always beat foot soldiers…
It’s more about shifting thinking…and doing different…sometimes the unexpected!