Seattle Schools Blog Film Festival

I don't know how other people's minds work, but I often get a sort of spark of an idea. It's as if I see it brilliantly, but only for a split second. Then, although everything has gone dark and I can't find it anymore, I know the answer is out there. We're all familiar with this experience. You're working on a problem and all of a sudden someone says "I've got it!" But the next moment they are hunting around as if for a lost contact lens. After that initial blinding insight, I grope around and grope around until I can sorta find it again. Even then, after I have found it, I have a lot of work to do before I can cogently express it and intellectually know it. There's a real sense of accomplishment at that point, but all of that work has been intellectual which, of course, is not enough. Sometimes, even after the idea has been shaped and polished it still proves useless. After I have all of the parts of the idea thought out, then I have to take some action in accordance with it; I have to be able to make some kind of real use of it. That's the eventual goal. I know this process, or evolution of thought, as chochma, bina, das. I don't know what it is called in English - there may not even be an English expression for it. The progression is inspiration, then thought, then action.

Because I do a lot of the thinking work out loud on this blog, readers here have witnessed this process for me. You have seen my growing awareness of the role of student motivation and my evolving understanding of the teacher's role from dispenser of information to coach, with a special emphasis on the coach's role as a motivator. You have read me blather on about the need to evolve from an industrial model for education to a post-industrial one without much clarity or accuracy in my language. It couldn't have been fun to watch. I suppose it has been like watching an ant struggle with a cookie crumb. Sorry.

So I would like to offer some compensation. Here are two really wonderful animations from RSA Animation. These folks provide a visual to accompany a speech. Their work looks like it's done on a white board. The first animated talk is from Daniel Pink and it is a distillation of his book, Drive. It is about motivation. The second is from Sir Ken Robinson about educational models. These two talks do a much better job of expressing some of what I've been trying to say about these topics. Each of the YouTube videos are about ten minutes long. This is the shortest film festival you have ever attended, but the lines are also short and the admission is free.


Jack Whelan said…
The Daniel Pink piece demonstrates what those of us have been saying for some time now about the stupidity of extrinsic motivations. It's not just bad education policy; it's bad business policy. The most creative, innovation oriented, forward looking businesses understand it; unfortunately the business interests that are pushing education reform are still working with carrot-and-stick incentive models that come out of the 1950s.

You can't get good at something you don't love. That goes for teachers teaching and students learning. It also goes for superintendents superintending. It shouldn't be primarily about the money. Find someone for whom it's all about the challenge of making a difference in a district that has such amazing potential to be great.

This idea that we have to give away $250K to get someone good shows IMO a complete misunderstanding of what the criteria should be. We don't want or need a careerist; we want someone who wants to collaborate with the board to accomplish something wonderful. Managers are a dime a dozen. Get someone with vision, but not the vision shaped by these troglodyte business reformers.
Sahila said…
Dont you read what other people (me) have to offer?

You're a bit late to the party Charlie, but I guess better late than never... I posted both of these links (and others on the same topics)at least a year ago...

On the one hand, knowledge and understanding comes for each of us when we are individually ready...

On the other, there really is no need to reinvent the wheel, you know..

It would save a lot of backpeddling, circuitous muddling and misinformation if if you did follow others' leads now and again ...

AND as a school community, we might move forward much faster in creating an educational model that works better for everyone...

VW = egompitc... which makes me grin - who has the bigger ego here, Charlie - you or me???
dan dempsey said…
Get someone with vision, but not the vision shaped by these troglodyte business reformers.

A vision that arises from what can be done and what needs to be done. A knowledge of children and families is essential ... No peyote required for the needed vision.

Since the 60s, I've seen mission statements and policies written with (SWBAT) all students will be able to .....

It is way past time to look at each student rather than the generic all students.

The WA State adoption of the Common Core State Standards and more testing has little to do with meeting individual needs of students. CCSS are about meeting the desires of troglodyte business reformers.

CCSS began as a secret project (funded by Gates Foundation) and eventually was passed by 45 states seeking "money from the FEDS". In WA state the required CCSS impact statement was to be delivered to the legislature on Jan 1, 2011 and it was 30 days late, giving legislators and the public little time to respond to the OSPI report. .... A vision of legality is also needed from the Legislature, the School Board, and the Superintendent. ..... The Process on TFA and New Tech Network contract and so many other items stunk and still stinks....
Anonymous said…
Anyone with a background in sports knew this years ago. It didn't take Daniel Pink.

At the same time, there are as many modes of effective teaching as there are excellent teachers.
Same with coaches and championship teams.

Not sure why it is necessary to pigeon-hole effectiveness. It should have expansive, rather than reductionist, possibilities.

Seems like an attempt to out-Gates Gates (and be armchair quarterbacks). The proof is always in the pudding, and the pudding doesn't follow a recipe, in these cases.

Gates, not the athletic type, probably has no concept of being part of a sports team. Hence, the attempt to turn relationships and hard work into a science theorem.

I, for one, am tired of the armchair types analyzing and dissecting. It is part of the de-professionalism of teaching.

--enough already
Anonymous said…
... No peyote required for the needed vision.

Thanks, Dan. That will get me through those painful staff meeting discussions for years to come.

("Do you mean mission or vision?")

--enough already
seattle citizen said…
Sahila, Charlie is merely sharing these excellent videos. I don't think he intended to be claiming that "he found them first" or anything. It ain't a race, it's sharing.
dan dempsey said…
The idea that better standards will produce great improvement is a weird vision.

From Mike Winetrip at the NY Times.

How about an actual dose of reality =>


.....our main problem is the failure of our comprehensive high school system. No other country that I know of tries to educate all students the same. It simply doesn't work. Many European countries separate kids at high school into vocational and academic tracks. Most Asian countries separate kids by putting them in schools rated by ability.

Only the US is pretending that all kids should be educated the same..... This is a relatively new idea. It certainly wasn't true 50 years ago.

By pretending all kids should be college ready we are forced to teach to the lowest common denominator and as a result we have fewer students ready for college than we ever had before.

This is no way to compete in a global economy. Our education system is anti work and doesn't acknowledge that we need a workforce of laborers, technicians and service providers. In fact, much of our k-12 and university systems have total disdain for the people who do these vital jobs.

The system we have forces teachers to try and make students who have no academic interest and/or ability study abstract mathematics that they don't understand and will never use.

The students rebel against these nonsensical requirements. Almost a third of them drop out of high school but there are many, many, who stay in school but drop out functionally. They begrudgingly do any task they are asked to do and their attitude infects our entire system.

In other countries these kids are cut loose to the workforce (or maybe rice paddies) or directed to learn a skill that will be valuable to both them and society.

We have long fought for good standards and strong curriculum and those things help.

However, our system will never again compete in a global economy until we provide opportunities for our kids follow their true skills and interests. Instead of false academic achievement we need to teach work ethic, pride of work, and satisfaction in a job well done. We need to let kids go where they can excel not force them into academic areas that they have no interest or aptitude to be in. I see the results of this folly every day..... it's not a pretty picture..... and we are not lifting one finger to change it.

The above is from a HS teacher ... not me.
Sahila said…
@Seattle.... that wasnt the point I was making... not interested in a race.... frustrated by the lack of inquisitiveness and research and follow through...

imagine where this conversation and the ed scene in Seattle might be today, if we had the conversation re what real education and motivation looks like a year ago?

So much time and opportunity lost, and our kids living through this crap we have them locked into... not to mention the damage being done to teachers...
dan dempsey said…
The above post with the "..." is linked to a Chinese +>
Female International Detective Agency....

Wow this blog has interesting SPAM.
Charlie Mas said…
Sorry, Dan, but I made your comment look odd because I delete commercial spam like that completely.

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