This month I had the very good fortune to present a keynote at the Leading a Digital Schools Conference in Melbourne. It was a great opportunity to connect with some really interesting educators from the other side of the world. I attended a session by Aaron Davis on Communication, Collaboration and Creativity – Exploring the Tools of Change.
Aaron referenced Tom Barrett’s piece on Learning in Perpetual Beta in which Tom proposes that we shift the focus of learning towards failure being a norm of learning. Wow – oh wow! And yes! Everywhere except in school failure IS a normal part of learning. It’s accepted, tolerated and not exactly celebrated, but certainly routinely expected.
And what about the metaphor of the scientist in the lab working to find the next great discovery? How many times must she test the hypothesis? It’s a mindset, isn’t it? Failing forward to learn something new.
How is it that we’ve shaped school to make failure something shameful? Something to be avoided?
As educators, the evaluation process certainly doesn’t support a model of failing forward or failing up.
Lee Crockett and Will Richardson both keynoted as well (heady company, I know). They too spoke to the importance of the culture of learning. Lee and Will addressed the importance of leading change through learning.
Kate Matthew (@GaTechTeach) shared this wonderful thought about the culture of learning recently:
It surely seems that there is plenty of good thinking to fill this petri dish. Now what will cultures will you nurture where you are?