Of course you can’t do that [SLIDE]

Of Course You Can't Do That

As soon as you say ‘failure is not an option,’ you’ve just said ‘innovation is not an option.’
– Seth Godin, The Flip Side

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See also my other slides and the Great Quotes About Learning and Change Flickr pool.

[cross-posted at Education Recoded]

5 Responses to “Of course you can’t do that [SLIDE]”

  1. Great! And I my hope is the message gets to Congress as well.
    Case in point: Last January I met with a staffer on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Explained the vital importance of ED’s i3 grant program: ED’s stamp of approval on a district’s plan to innovate would be helpful when (not if) the bulk of those innovations did not succeed. I stated the political cover of ED provides district leaders with encouragement to try stuff and some of it won’t work. Just knowing what not to do is really valuable.
    The staffer’s reaction to this little lesson was stunning. They said if ED’s grant money produced stuff that didn’t work “there would be consequences for ED and the districts.”

  2. Yes, that makes some sense, and I understand Barry’s relation to this in terms of legislation. My initial impression was in terms of who I am – the administrator of a school. From a teacher perspective – please try it, go for it, fail, fail big, and fail again! Woo-Hoo, let’s give it a shot! At the same time, please let you principal know what zany stuff you are experimenting with. If he/she has a problem or concern with it, check with the superintendent and maybe even the Board if necessary. These aren’t stifling steps to creativity, they are the backups you will need if/when it fails miserably and horribly. And they ARE the minds that will bring some logic into your world at times and tell you, “no, it’s not a good idea to have a student jump off the 3-story building to test the impact prevention of a physics experiment made from rubber bands and plastic straws.” Get their support of your outlandish and even crazy ideas. Some of us are less than sane ourselves when it comes to giving something that looks good a shot. If you are going to try the, “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission,” route, then you also need to realize that forgiveness isn’t given any easier than permission in the case of plain dumb idea. Get these people on board and make a crazy thought into a good discussion and ultimately a GREAT LEARNING OPPORTUNITY!

  3. I used your slide on our school’s reform blog… if that’s inappropriate, please let me know. And thank you.

  4. Great slide, Scott.

    I argue constantly that teachers are stuck between a rock and a moral hard place because on the one hand we’re buried under calls to “reform education” making it more customized and collaborative and on the other hand, we’re expected to follow scripted day-by-day pacing guides and we’re held accountable for nothing more than performance on standardized tests.

    That’s hypocrisy on a good day and lunacy on the rest.

    Rock right on,

  5. I’m actually commenting on Godin’s quote below the slide “As soon as you say failure is not an option, you’ve said innovation is not an option.”
    While a nice attempt to debunk a cliche and be the “I’m more thoughtful about this than you” guy, he obviously is ignoring the context in which Alan Blankstein uses the phrase in his book, “Failure is Not an Option”. Blankstein and others use the phrase to talk about how the failure of our educational system is unacceptable, and producing kids that can’t read or graduate is unacceptable; not an idea, reform effort, strategy, or new paradigm. I know what Godin is getting at, that we need to innovate and that means we will fail along the way, but his statement is myopic.

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