Longing for Endless Immensity

kiteIf you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

This quote came across my Facebook feed this morning and hit me like a ton of bricks.  I am gearing up to moderate #slowchated this coming week (read more about it here), and my chosen topic is creating a culture of risk-taking, creativity and innovation among adults and students.

As an administrator, it is always my goal to support teachers – to unleash their powers for creativity so they can unleash the creative powers of the students.  I have run into a few problems with this goal, however, some of which I attribute to people (teachers, students AND administrators) unwilling to take risks.  What could be holding us back? What could push us further more quickly? I have several hypotheses myself, but will wait to write about them after the week is out.

The National Equity Project defines leadership as taking responsibility for what matters to you.  If we educators all agree that creativity, innovation and risk-taking are important in all aspects of school, how can we act as leaders to foster those habits?  I look forward to an interesting (dare I say creative, innovative and revolutionary) chat next week.

Join #slowchated starting March 3 for the discussion – join me in longing for the immensity of the sea.

In the meantime, here are some resources to get your thought juices flowing:

  • A TED talk by David Kelley about gaining creative confidence, and gaining self efficacy (also, if you have time, read the interview).
  • A blog from #slowchated Papa, David Theriault (@davidtedu), “Increase Innovation in Teaching and Learning by Taking the Low Road.”
  • A blog from Reed Gillespie (@rggillespie) about how administrators can encourage teacher risk taking.
  • Ed. Leaders Balance Risk Taking and Failure.” by Katie Ash in Education Weekly.
  • Blog post from  Ben Grossman-Kahn and the Children’s Creativity Museum, “Taking Creative Risks and Failing Forward.”
  • Blog post from Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO), “Taking Risks and Breaking Rules.” (Source is unclear, but it is a thought-provoking read).