On the power of assemblage

When Is the last time you told a friend, colleague, or student: “I’ll be your audience”?

Last Monday, the third #teacherbookclub chat (Via Twitter) hosted the extraordinary co-author of Launch, John Spencer.

If you are in education and you have yet to check out Spencer’s ‘Sketchy Videos,’ be prepared to be amazed:

In John Spencer’s post “Ten Things Pixar Can Teach Us About Creativity” he reminds us that creativity is not the end goal, rather, creativity is a byproduct of healthy communities of learners who prioritize relationships above outcomes:

People are more important than ideas. There was a great quote here, “Ideas come from people. Therefore, people are more important than ideas . . . too many of us think of ideas as being singular, as if they float in the ether , fully formed and independent of the people who wrestle with them. Ideas, though, are not singular. They are forged through tens of thousands of decisions, often made by dozens of people.” This has a few big implications. First, it means trust and relationships are more important than the products we make. Second, it means we need to be okay to abandon ideas without taking things personally. Finally, it means our success in generating ideas does not define who we are as people.

JD Hancock Relationship
JD Hancock
Relationship

 

Spencer’s musings on the trust we need to precede ‘creativity’ continues in his book (prioritize it on your summer to-read list):

“If we want students to hit a place of creative flow, we need to give them time to experience this phase. We must allow them to be excruciatingly slow. There’s no shortcut. They can’t bypass the necessary learning and discovery, trial and error. They simply need more time to work through it.”

A week ago, one of my amazing grade 9 students had a day off from school.  With all the open space of a day off campus she could have done just about anything.  Instead of binging on Netflix, she hit that place of creative flow.  All on her own. Check out her amazing project in the making here:


You can read all about the project to be here. Please consider leaving your comments, or connecting her with other students who might ignite other ideas too.

In many ways, that student followed Spencer’s Launch Cycle.  Perhaps she’d even agree with another quote from #LaunchBook:

“There’s power in problem-solving and experimenting and taking things from questions to ideas to authentic products that you launch to the world. Something happens in students when they define themselves as makers and inventors and creators.”

I’ve been thinking about the students and colleagues I’ve known who have been ‘prone to Launch.’  They all share one common trait:  they have a network who will support them by being a member of their audience.

Being someone’s audience comes in all shapes and sizes.  You can comment on their post, quote their tweet adding your ‘yes, and…’ thoughts, ask them to tell you more, connect them with someone who can take their work further, invite them into your network, or just listen.

“Just Listen.”

Sarah Horrigan Listen
Sarah Horrigan
Listen

How often do we underestimate the power of listening?

It is one of the most effective ways to make someone feel valued.  Think of the people you’ve most loved working with, I bet they made you feel heard.  The most inspired administrators I’ve had the privilege to work with are all stellar listeners.

As another academic year comes to an end, I propose a goal for all you gearing up to set brand new goals: make any five members of your community feel heard, for the entire year.  What if this goal applied to all stakeholders of your school? How might that feed into other goals?

I’m reading two books at the moment which are proving to be very helpful if you want to unpack that goal:

The Discomfort Zone: How Leaders Turn Difficult Conversations Into Breakthroughs

by Marcia Reynolds

and

While I am incredibly excited to listen to brand new colleagues and students at my soon to be next school, I must say, I am every bit as excited to hear from the creator of the Firesaur, to find out how her project evolves.  I’m also excited to hear from members of the #EagleEd squad, and play audience from afar to hear about what they do with blogging, Davos, service learning, and more.
As a goodbye and thank you, I leave with a blogpost (also by Spencer) as a parting gift.  I hope my students and colleagues continue to foster the power of positive relationships and embrace what Spencer calls ‘The Food Truck Mindset”:
Food trucks often allow a chef to continue to improve on his or her craft by learning through making. You figure out if it works by sending it to a real audience. Part of why food trucks can experiment so well is that they are moving through the design cycle faster than a typical restaurant. They are able to test things out to a real audience and see if it works. Schools can easily get bogged down by meetings where they are planning about planning. But if they take this “ship earlier” approach, they can test things, modify them, and then create a new iteration faster. Innovation often looks small and humble at first. But good ideas have a way of spreading when people are able to see it in action.

Happy Making this Summer!

Kind Regards,

Tricia

Takashi .M Thank you !!
Takashi .M
Thank you !!

Thank you Flickr for the amazing Creative Commons Images!

JD Hancock

Relationship

Sarah Horrigan

Listen

One Reply to “On the power of assemblage”

  1. Dear Tricia,

    I will forever be a part of your audience. Thank you for showing me what that means. Thank you for helping me to create my own audience. Because of you we are ready to set sail.

    Wishing you all the best,
    Valerie

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