Here is an open letter to teachers and administrators who work hard to set conditions for generative learning from Royce Holladay, Network Director with Human Systems Dynamics Institute.
Recently, Michaela Jacobsen, a 5th-grade teacher at Faria Elementary school in Cupertino Unions School District, shared a blog with me. It was a lovely reminder about the use of tools in learning. You can read the blog here. http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/05/the-invisible–ipad-its-not-about-the-device/ It got me thinking about how much of what we teach, and I had to write her a note, thanking her for the ideas she had shared.
Michaela, thanks for sharing. I loved it. You may not even know who I am. My name is Royce Holladay, and I have been working with your district for about a year, helping the administrators learn about and use Human Systems Dynamics (HSD) in their work. I continue to follow and care about the work you all are doing in Cupertino as you move toward full realization of the potential for “invisible skills” addressed by the Common Core. I have met some teachers there and continue to be impressed by the level of commitment I see among you–commitment to growth, learning, and exploring at all levels of the system.
Thank you for sharing this article in particular. I love the idea of an “invisible I-pad” and the correlations the author drew to automobiles and light bulbs. It’s not about the item–it’s about how that item changes our lives.
So here is what that made me think about: What if we get to a point where the concepts/skills described in the common core become invisible in our communities? So that it’s not about “the Four C’s”, but it is about what communication, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration can do to change our lives and the lives of our children.
What if ideas like inquiry are “invisible”? What will it be like when adults and students in CUSD (and everywhere) engage in inquiry because of the ways it helps us all see the world, rather than because it’s the next concept on the lesson plan or the next competency in the Common Core? What will our work be like when “collaboration” is invisible? What is possible when “creative thinking” is invisible? What will your relationships across the district and in the community be like when “communications skills” are how we engage in our discourse rather than what our discourse is about?
I have been an educator since the late 1970’s (yes, I am that old)! This moment in time seems to me to hold the greatest promise in the 40+ year-long history of “reform” in public education. In this moment it seems we have the possibility to realize the true professionalism of educators, as we take on the challenge of building those skills so that they are measured by the degree to which they become invisible–in a way that filling in dots on a standardized test will never be invisible.
Thanks to you and to all who stand in inquiry and set conditions for generative learning everywhere.
–Royce Holladay, May 15, 2014