There are always those moments where an idea pops out and challenges your thinking. As I worked through @ideo_u Storytelling for Influence lesson this week I was a little taken a back. A quick mention of a website as a storytelling medium popped up in the video. I do admit I felt a little silly even questioning it for a second. Of course it’s a tool to communicate. The last few months feel like an ongoing learning adventure about storytelling from photographs to animations. So with my story in mind for my project and as I worked on a tardy recap for my schools on communication a nagging thought came to mind: Are there untold stories in our community? Are there learners in our communities that haven’t found the right medium to communicate? In a world that communicates in a multitude of mediums do we only value a small few?
The best part of being a modern learning coach is to see those moments of wonder. To see the learner that never shares, voice their thoughts in a blog comment. The second language learner finds a voice in their comic or Scratch jr animation. The disengaged friend finding success in their game design.
As Maya Angelou says, there is no greater agony than an untold story. And there is no greater reward than when a learner finds their voice.
A snowflake in a snowstorm.
A beloved recipe you can finally replicate.
A photograph of sunrise or sunset.
All around us we find moments where the complex has been captured and shared simply. The simple message does not downplay the wonder, power or difficulty of the subject but rather captures it’s essence.
After 10 or so years of trying to influence change in education (in my own small tiny way mind you) I think this is the greatest lesson I had to learn. So much of our work in educational change is helping others to see the why, the possibilities that come with the hard work of change. It can be overwhelming, intimidating or even just plain insulting if we can’t state it simply in a way that connects us. And yet on the opposite end we see so many strategies, protocols, frameworks that desire to simplify and streamline the process but somewhere along the line have lost the complexity that comes with a human endeavour like education, that doesn’t recognize the wonderful uniqueness of our learners, settings and educators. It feels a bit like a safe road trip that missed it’s final destination.
How do you state the complex simply? I’ve spent the last few weeks pondering how to do just that as we try to squish a 2 year long process summarized in 12 glossy pages inEmpowering Modern Learners into a 2 minute nutshell animation. Funnily enough the process to the simple definition has taken months of pondering, chatting and feedback. We want to state it simply so we all can connect but also not loose the complexity of the ideas being shared.
In education I feel we are torn by one side screaming ‘Keep it Simple’ and the presenting the hard to read manual. Perhaps in our endeavour to innovate together we need to find a way to identify the simply complex work we are focused on because the learners in our care are just as wonderfully simply complex.
Every year I get to this point and am stumped. What is the one word for the year ahead? You climb this mountain, stand at the summit and shout out your word hoping the universe shouts back some tips. As I read through past posts, I realized perhaps they are still areas of growth. I still need to focus on the necessary (#oneword2016) and I’m not sure I was as fearless as I wanted to be in 2017. Maybe I need to work on the action piece or perhaps a quarterly revisit will help.
Back to the word.
As I have been reading Creative Confidence by Tom and Dave Kelly this week, the pieces started falling in to place. The authors define creative confidence as the combination of thought and action: “the ability to come up with new ideas and the courage to try them out.” It feels like a perfect fit for many reasons. One it builds on last year’s word of fearless but it also focuses on action. As much as the ideas come, the fear creeps in: fear of being judged, fear of failure, even fear of success. Tom & Dave address it so well in chapter 1.
In our experience, one of the scariest snakes in the room is the fear of failure, which manifests itself in such ways as fear of being judged, fear of getting started, fear of the unknown. And while much has been said about fear of failure, it still is the single biggest obstacle people face to creative success.
So for 2018 I want to live out my creative confidence. A year of new ideas and the courage to bring them to life and push the fear aside.
Here’s to wishing you each a year of action!