What would a visitor take away from your school after visiting for a few hours? Or a day?
Or a week?
Béa and Oliver Beste
Béa Beste visited my school, (Northern Beaches Christian School) in March 2011 for two days, and then returned with her husband Oliver for the best part of a week before Christmas.
We bonded immediately as kindred spirits. Béa had, previously, launched a series of bilingual schools in Germany and was travelling the world seeking inspiration for her next idea: 'playducation'. Béa understands the implications of the attention economy; that engagement is everything, imagination all powerful, inspiration un-stoppable. I decohered somewhat in my last post about 'life is desire', but the point is simple: learning comes from internal impulses.
Béa took a LOT of video footage over her week-long séjour at NBCS in November.
A Third Party Perspective
She has since mixed down hours of footage down to a 7 minute video which is likely to become my definitive resource for communicating what we're on about. First of all, I'm grateful to Béa for her hard work! (Thanks Béa!)
It's fascinating for me to see what a visitor notices. What was most salient? What stood out, out of everything?
A bold vision: turning school into an 'airport of learning', and radically rethinking timetabling and physical spaces.
Vision first, administration second, and distributed-leadership rather than top-down.
Get ideas from other learning spaces, that aren't schools.
Dissolve walls, even between 'inside' and 'outside'.
Possibilities open up with 200 students + 8 teachers in 1 large space, especially 'culture of sharing'.
Students in the driving seat, including co-desigining learning landscape.
Teacher PD must be inline with the same principles. PD isn't lead from the front but is grass-roots. e.g. teachers on field trips to visit businesses around Sydney and investigate modern spaces.
Safe-failing, risk-taking culture.
Connecting teachers and students to the world via the internet.
Teaching the curriculum, but going FURTHER, and not letting it constrain the pedagogy.
Gathering a Tribe, Building a Movement
I am delighted by the video and by what Béa saw after a week embedded in our school.
You know what? Our connection with Béa and Oliver is so strong because we recognise we belong to the same tribe.
The tribe is rethinking learning. I suspect that you, o ye humble blog reader, are part of our tribe too, by virtue of spending your SPARE TIME reading about learning. Why would anyone spend their SPARE TIME on this!? You could be at the beach! No one has asked you to do it. No one is accrediting you. No one is paying you extra. No one has given you permission, a mandate or a deadline.
It takes courage to be in this tribe. Most of us had 13 years schooling learning how to DO SCHOOL. Then in our teacher training were taught how to DO SCHOOL. When we watch soap opera school scenes we're reminded how to DO SCHOOL.
Courage to be in this tribe, because we reject the well-worn DNA, resist its momentum, refuse its answers, recant its first principles - but if we leave the well-worn path, where will we go instead?
It's a conversation:
The tribe is open for membership, no interview required, no papework. It's conceptual: your name isn't written anywhere. It helps if you tweet or blog, but there's no rules, and there's not even a territory mapped out (we're the surveyors). You may be a lone ranger at your school. That's ok, you can be like a secret spy seeking to overthrow the ancien régime from the inside, lighting a little fire in your own backyard.
If you're in the tribe, wave at me, won't you? Leave a comment and say g'day!
P.S. Keep your eye on SCIL in 2012 - we're keener than ever to help build steam in the transformation movement.