• Rebecca

    27 June 2020 at 1:36 am

    I can’t say it enough: that the simple NSEW Compass on a large piece of paper in the middle of a room with ANY topic/question in the center box is an amazingly powerful tool for any age and in any language.

    Our school systems are set up, unfortunately, with the god-awful timetable. Our students are put into a superficial environment where life revolves around hourly bells, stop-and-go mentality, and just plain ‘ole silo applications of content. (Not all schools, of course).

    Caveat: I notice my writing is starting to come across as angry or critical. My mindset is truly not. I guess you could say I’m tired of having to convince people that there’s a better way to do school…but I surely wake up motivated, happy, and willing. Forgive my ramblings: it’s mostly for me to formulate where I’m at and how to go about my next steps in my new school.

    There is a new school here in Thailand just opening up this August called VERSO. They do not have grade levels, and their schedule includes 2.5 hours a day of “Explore Time”; meant to be the time students work on issues of their choice. They also have a weekly block of “Beyond the Walls; meant to be service learning. So, I thought. Their consultant is IDEO out of California, as well is Richard Hames. I was pitching my philosophy during a week of grueling interviews and felt it was some of my best articulation of a better way to do learning.

    I didn’t get the job. Why? Despite VERSO advertising all that they do about “we do things differently”, they weren’t ready for my ideas, and told me so. They didn’t believe in using the SDGs. They didn’t believe that assessment could be individualized on student growth on their projects. They wanted to see more PBL tied directly to the NGSS standards…they said, “Parents need assurance we’re getting their kids ready to get into universities.” They didn’t like my idea of a monthly VERSO Community Circle, where members of the community came in and served as mentors for students with their projects (“members” included everything from the broom seller, the motorbike mechanic, and the CEOs). Yet all my pitches were directly based off of the design challenge they sent me. So here we have yet another educational institution doing the same ‘ole stuff.

    As much as I wish I could teach like that, the more I learn about sustainability, systems thinking, service learning, SDGs, design thinking, I just can’t go back into that box. I need to wear the COMPASS tool on my sleeve and insist on the richness of its use.