New Ideas

When I saw The Imitation Game in the fall (it was TIFF’s  People’s Choice selection this year) I was most struck by the main character Alan Turing.  Played by Benedict Cumberbatch, the role is one of a misunderstood genius. I think this line from the film describes him best:

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When I first heard the quote, it really stuck.  Now, as the film has started showing in theatres, and the trailer is all over tv, I keep hearing that quote over and over, and I keep thinking about it in a contemporary context. 

Currently, many educators are using research-driven methods in their classrooms.  As a profession we are moving away from antiquated processes that lack intentionality, and we are moving towards measurable, effective, “best” practices.

But research only measures ideas that have been tried before.

What about the new ideas?

While I’m not the biggest Michael Fullan fan, I really do like what he says in this 2013 report:

“To go down the path towards excellence requires a high-capacity teaching profession and school leaders to work collectively in focused ways on the consolidation of current success, and on the further development of the innovative learning methods essential for a complex but exciting global world.

Capacity of the teaching profession was the very point that the McKinsey group made in comparing the 20 “most improving systems in the world,” which included Ontario. They found that when you go from adequate to good to great, a system must invest in direct capacity-building of teachers. But once the system reaches a certain level — let’s call it “greatness” — it requires strategies that mobilize the capacities of peers. They put it directly: as capacity gets higher (which is certainly the case in Ontario), peers become the main source of innovation if you are to go from greatness to excellence.”

Are we making space for this kind of excellence in our systems?

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