Telling the New Story

Telling the New StoryI just read that Wesley, Miguel, Ewan, and Darren are going to be doing another Skypecast. I would so much like to be part of one of these conversations. How does one get an invite? Alas, I’ll be driving across Illinois at that time, so will have to listen later on, when Wesley has posted it as a podcast.

One of the issues they’ll be talking about is affecting change in education, and their agenda indicates some talk about “The New Story”. I’ve spoken quite a bit lately about “The New Story” and will be again, next week, at the NCAECT conference in Charlotte.

The best stories are told by people who are respected (believe it or not, teachers are respected as people who “know” things). They’re also told by children, and by grandparents. They can be long, but the best stories are short. They begin with, “Did you know that…” and there is an implied question. It’s the question that’s the hard part.

Did you know that if Walmart was a country, it would be China’s eighth largest trading partner?

Did you know that at any moment 2% of the world gross domestic product is in the back of a UPS truck?

The typical American question is, “Why are we outsourcing all of this manufacturing?” We need to teach ourselves to ask, “What do I need to know in order to facilitate this sort of supply chain?”

Dr. Jennifer James talks about story telling as an effective leadership skills. She says that a compelling new story must have three elements. It must:

  • Fit the marketplace and our vision of the future
  • Resonate to deeply held values
  • Be something that we can model, something that we can point to.

Hands down, the marketplace is changing. It’s getting bigger and there are a lot of new players. What we value, are our children. And we have to have some vision of that classroom that is not centered around the technology, but around what our children are doing, what the community is seeing, and how that vision fits the future vision.

To me, personally, the value of conferences has more to do with the stories I come away with than the new technologies. There are a number of books right now that are telling compelling new stories. Aside from Freidman’s, The World is Flat, look into:

  • The Flight of the Creative Class, by Richard Florida
  • Got Game, by John Beck
  • Growing Up Digital, by Don Tapscott (it’s a bit dated by with valuable)
  • As the Future Catches You, by Juan Enriquez
  • Get WIRED Magazine for your professional library.

[Please suggest other sources of new stories!]

Be willing to be bold. Small changes don’t excite people. Big changes do. The other day, I suggested, in my CUE webcast, that each teacher should have three or four hours of planning time every day. First off, think for a minute, about a classroom based on three hours of planning every day. Isn’t that the classroom that our children and our future deserves.

If we are not willing to at least consider changes that are that radical, then we simply aren’t going to make it.

2¢ Worth!

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.