Chris Quotes

Chris Lehmann Speaking at IgnitePhilly
Chris Lehmann Speaking at IgnitePhilly

Sitting here at RDU, waiting for my 8:00AM flight to Bismarck (by way of Minneapolis), I realize that I’ve been sitting on this one for a couple of days, a presentation that Chris Lehmann (principal of Science Leadership Academy and Practical Theory Author) delivered at IgnitePhilly, where,

If you had five minutes on stage what would you say? What if you only got 20 slides and they rotated automatically after 15 seconds? Around the world geeks have been putting together Ignite nights to show their answers… and now it has come to Philadelphia!

First of all, I didn’t know that Chris could talk any faster.  But his usual fast paced and quick minded stream of ideas is surpassed here, in front of the crowd, pressured by the automatically advancing slides.  What you see in the performance is why SLA is one of the top schools in the country that I recommend to my clients as they are looking for exemplary programs to visit.

I know that Chris’ performance video has already rounded the edublog circuit.  But I wanted to post just a few of his comments that I think deserve an appearance in print.

Good data is the work kids do every day, not the answers they get on the test.

Chris says that we need good data, and we preach the need for data driven decision making, but we can’t afford it.

How is it that we have so many passionate dedicated educators and so many really failing schools?  The problem is, that you put a good person in a bad system, the system wins every time..  We need to change the system.

Teachers become teachers because they have a vision of successful learning looks like.  When the system is not set up for success, well, we lose them.

It’s not about a workforce.  It’s about a citizenry.

I admit an emphasis on workforce in my presentations.  To be compelling, the story has to fit the market place.  But, to be compelling, the story also has to resonate with deeply held values.  Democracy and the future well-being of our children (and ourselves) is critical — and so much of that depends on our what and how our children are learning today.

Talk about learning…

Our kids built a flow-process biodiesel generator.  We’re patenting it, and we’re sharing the plans with a village in Guatemala and a school in Ecuador.  They’re taking their villages off the grid.  Kids doing it, because it matters.  “Applause”

That was powerful, plus, I really wanted to write, “flow-process biodiesel generator.

It’s (what we assess and are accountable for today) recall-based learning, and you know what?  In the age of Google it’s just absolutely obsolete.

My line, “What are we going to ask on our tests, when our students are walking in with Google in their pocket?”  “Are they going to be better questions than we ask today?”

If you want to see what kids have learned, give ’em a project.  Dare them to show you what they can do with their own head, heart, and hands. That’s when you’ll get kids engaged.  That’s when you’ll get kids learning.  That’s when you get kids who can change the world.

More applauds!

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.