Every now and then I come across a phrase that kinda stops me in my tracks. Like the other day when I was reading an essay about the reasons behind the war in Ukraine and the author mentioned "toxic nostalgia" as one of the main causes. It's not hard to suss out the meaning: a desire to go back to the way things were despite the negative or harmful implications of doing so. Seems like an appropriate phrase not just for Russia's incursion but for so much of how we seem to be reacting to … [Read more...]
Are We In a “Talk – Walk Gap”?
If there’s one small bit of good news emanating from the chaos of this pandemic and politics moment, it’s this: a markedly growing number of schools are engaging in more existential discussions about what school needs to be in an age of growing complexity and change. We know this not only from our work to help international schools articulate and put into practice a set of “new school” principles that will hopefully guide their work into the future. We’ve also been … [Read more...]
“When Will This Year Be Over?” is the Wrong Question
"When will this year be over?" "I can’t wait to go back to normal." As we head into the last quarter of 2020, natural disasters, social calamity, pandemic, and a general malaise of sadness and isolation don’t seem like they will be going away anytime soon. We are living in a cycle of crises where the reflex of many is to hold their collective breath until this is all over. But with no end of crisis on the horizon, simple lung capacity and clean air (in particularly … [Read more...]
The Power of Community
(NOTE: This is a cross post of an essay that Will wrote for the Association for the Advancement of International Schools (AAIE) member newsletter. He has been working with AAIE international school heads for the last six months facilitating weekly conversations and has also led a working group to create a new vision for AAIE schools. Both he and Homa will be helping to facilitate Phase 2 of the project this fall.) For the past several years, I’ve been fascinated by online … [Read more...]
Do We Have the “Situational Awareness” to Navigate Into the Future?
In a recent podcast interview, Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger said the main reason he was able to make his famous emergency landing of Flight 1549 into the Hudson River in 2009 was because he had “situational awareness,” meaning he was aware of what was happening, could understand the meaning, and project the potential outcomes into the future. Sounds like what most educational leaders need right now. In our work with leaders over the past six months, we’ve been … [Read more...]
What If We Tried “Radical Acts of Education”?
At a recent Big Questions Institute professional development workshop for educational leaders, one of the participants honestly reflected that she felt uncomfortable using the word “radical,” even if it was stated in the context of “radical kindness,” “radical acceptance,” or “radical empathy” at school. “The connotations seem too strong and polarizing,” she said. We get it. Our media and political leaders have built massive audiences sparking fear of so many “radicals,” like … [Read more...]
“If I Could Change One Thing…”
Last month, Will had the opportunity to create a short response to the prompt "If you could change any one thing about education, what would you change?" Here's his reply: … [Read more...]
How Can We Walk Lightly Through the Portal?
Of all of the millions of words that have been written by thousands of authors trying to make sense of this historic moment we’re living through, none have had as big an impact on our thinking and on our work as a powerful essay by the Indian writer and activist Arundhati Roy titled The Pandemic is a Portal. And while the entire essay offers an important perspective on the somewhat early days of the virus’s spread, it’s the final three paragraphs which have continually kept us focused on the … [Read more...]