Monday, May 14, 2012

What Would You Do?

I currently have the great honor of participating in an online community of educators from Alberta, Canada. This community is working on improving education for all students with a focus on inclusive environments. While I am part of the community to model how an active community member participates, I am learning so much. And since inclusion is something very near and dear to my heart, I am trying to learn as possible from these dedicated educators while I am with them for four short weeks.

Today I clicked on a discussion thread titled, "What would you do?" The full question is "What would you do if you knew you would not fail?" and there is a wonderful TED talk to go with it. Even if you can't take the 25 minutes to watch the whole talk, I hope you can take a few minutes just to watch the beginning.

Oh! The possibilities! Sadly, it seems like people in my neck of the woods actually want you to fail. A new idea is a foreign, incomprehensible thought, and most people would rather wait patiently for you to fail and say, "I told you it wouldn't work!" rather that asking, "What can we do to make this happen?"

I, for one, want to think about what I could do if I couldn't fail. Here was my response on the discussion thread:

I will tell you what I would do. I would start my own elementary school. It would have a ratio of 10 students for every teacher, and each student would have their own individualized education plan. They would progress through the state standards not by grade level, but as they were ready to progress through them. And all of our learning would be project and passion based. Parents would volunteer a certain amount of hours per month, as their work permitted, and we would be a school where people would not say no. People would say, "How can we make that work?"
Enough of the, "It can't be done." Enough of the, "I told you it wouldn't work!" What would YOU do for kids if you knew you could not fail? 

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