At the 2019 ADE Institute – Americas (for Apple Distinguished Educators), so many conversations about “how” to do things conjured up a potential solution. “Why can’t we do this?” or “Why are so many of our teachers like that? Is it that way where you work?”
It was cool to learn that author David Lee also became an ADE a week before, in Australia.
The ADE Institute has been an awesome experience for connecting with like- and open-minded educators from across the Americas and the conversations were thought-provoking. Presentations called “Showcases” were inspirational. But my answer to the “how” questions I received often depend upon culture. In Lee’s book, he recalls Peter Drucker who wrote that certain processes are ineffectual if they aren’t compatible with the culture of the group. And while I tend to think of culture among the adults in our organization, Lee makes the case for how important the culture is for learners within a classroom.
I am not going to cover the entire second chapter of Lee’s book, but I wanted to bring to light the Stanford’s d.school’s six key mindsets–which are required if you plan to use design thinking to its fullest potential. When I think of these mindsets alive in our classrooms, it gives me goosebumps.
- Human Centered – Students must be led on how to respond to human needs – and will gain inspiration from, empathy work. I heard an example this week of designing a bedroom with someone with specific needs, instead of designing “your perfect bedroom” as a project idea. Putting others first.
- Mindful of Process – Students will be thoughtful and reflective of their work, and mindful of the process they are using in their learning. Students will work toward improving their work through different iterations.
- Culture of Prototyping – Students will explore and experiment, engage with others to elicit and receive feedback. I think of visiting classrooms when projects are already finished. I’d love to see student work and give feedback to strengthen their efforts!
- Bias Toward Action – Students will quickly think and learn through an action-oriented approach; they’re empowered to make their own decisions. Key here is students improving at failure, i.e., they get over a fear of failure and learn it’s part of learning.
- Show, Don’t Tell – Students use visualizations to promote clarity, understanding, and decision making with others. Lee writes that “it is important for students to be open-minded to constructive criticism and refrain from defensiveness so that they can learn and their ideas can improve.”
- Radical Collaboration – “Students will be able to collaborate and create partnerships with people of different disciplines” toward developing “innovative ideas and solutions.” This reminds me of Bill Rankin’s dimensions of community in his cubic learning model, where there is a more sophisticated level beyond collaboration. The Stanford modifier, “Radical,” seems strange, but it does capture the essence of not only working toward a goal with a similar peer, but being able to use the resources of different understanding and values toward the goal of creating something new.
Lee’s book covers five more mindsets as well. It’s all good stuff and feels to me to be inspirational toward thinking about our strategic plan for the next six years in Goochland.
David Lee’s book is available through Amazon. (This is not a referral link.)