Yesterday I had a great conversation about what it takes to move a big box store into a more community orientated store. The article that was referenced gave a gradual/step by step approach to change that evolved the big box store instead of just tearing it down and building up the new model all at once. It was not the model alone that need to change, but a culture of a community also, and this is never going to be done right, if it is done from the top down quick fix model. Even if the model is better, more humane, more localized, we as humans do not respond well to big changes. Fear and anxiety easily bubble up when change is done TO people not WITH people.
This conversation reminded me of Ed reform on both sides, we seem to seek transformation as a sweeping change of the system, yet what we should be doing is creating a plan (something not often seen in the alternative movement) for overall change and design backwards. I think we all know what our end results (I say resultS because we know one size will not fit all) would look like, but what do we do about it. How do we empower people to start making the culture changes needed? How do we help give a guide without it being a list of requirements?
Oh wait this is the same challenge we tack in our classrooms, with our students! It is what so many of the posts have been about last week. We have in the past talked about putting up a FAQ page on the COOP, maybe we can start brainstorming how we can systematically transform the cultures of our schools to less factory/big box mentality and more human scale/ learning/live driven that help to guide the change that is needed. We are doing that already in our own ways, but I think if we start to put the nuggets of wisdoms out and actually name them and work with them, we might be able to help those who are comfortable with the “status quo” or are fearful of something different might be able to digest them a little better. It needs to be pragmatic and also of varying degrees of participation (much like this site.) Small steps often lead to big steps. We talked about making our ideas “Shinny” and “Bright”, just like WFS was able to market itself….. so lets do that!
That being said, this type of conversation happens everyday, it has been a issue for activist for years. Fundentmentally we have been trying to get at the question, how do we make big changes or scale up without being beaten down with every defeat even when change is not happening. Both Adam and Kirsten have showcased the different sides of the coin, on side you continue to seek like minded change agents and seek to create environments that are transformed and on the other you continue to fight inside the trenches for those that can’t fight for themselves and hope that soon the system will change.
This is a conversation that is rooted in the alternative education movement and it is a hard one. But can we have both, if so how?
It is the HOW that we can start to offer, some of have actually made change, have open schools, have transformed learning, have had great teaching moments. These are a great starts! and each of us, has knowledge to share!
- I know Joe Bower has started collecting stories about getting rid of grades,
- David has start a site for teacher’s video.
- Edna is brilliant at making top 10 list and relaying her students insights into teaching and learning,
- Adam at insights in how to help save the planet and so much more,
- Kirsten at connecting the voices,
- Paula about describing classroom situation,
- Chad at making charters and admins work seem humane and one model of change,
- Shelly is great at leading discussion via Twitter,
- Casey at offering great philosophical questions!
- John at sharing his reflection of being a change agent and a teacher….
- And all our new writers have shared their brilliance in the comments and their posts!
Okay so that is not the full list but you get the point. We are a talented, wide ranging group and we need to start putting that wisdom into tangible steps that can be acted on….
What are your ideas? Oh can we make our work more pragmatic and start to build this work and more importantly give others tools and tangible things that can be done today….
how can we starting helping others to figure out “how to educated our young?” not just school them!
Hope this starts something,