What’s Working and How Can We Do More of It? #sol19


















What’s working, and how can we do more of it?” Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Yet, in the real world, this obvious question is almost never asked. Instead, the question we ask is more problem focused: “What’s broken, and how do we fix it?” 
 Chip Heath, Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

What’s Working and How Can We Do More of It? #sol19

September 17, 2019

Two things happened simultaneously this last week,  a teacher educator came to interview me about the history of literacy in our district and a friend texted me a podcast out of the blue.  On surface, these two things don’t seem to be that related, but they both made me thing about my ‘public’ face and what motivates me. Those two things seem important as I seem to be in the business of motivation, the mere definition of coaching as it were.

When this lovely teacher educator showed up in the messy literacy center the other day,  I felt her eyes scan my endless piles of ideas and projects, my organized and reorganized personal library, and finally, my curious visage.  I asked her straight off, why me? Her answer was quick and definitive. I was told that you are a truth teller.  A truth teller? I thought.  Is that another word for troublemaker? 

As I began to answer her questions and fill in the history of literacy from definitively my school-based and literacy trained perspective, it occurred to me that much of the movement forward was disruptive behavior.  Perhaps I don’t mean disruptive behavior in the sense of protests or refusals, more of let’s just quietly give this a try and see what happens.  

With that behavior, most of the things that we tried were successful … and many people I was surrounded with were anxious to disrupt the status quo as well.  This leads me to the podcast.  My friend sent me a Hidden Brain podcast called Rebel with a Cause.  In the text message she wrote, to my rebellious friend.

Rebellious? I hadn’t particularly considered myself to be rebellious.  Willing to give things a go?  Definitely a let’s-go-for-it type of person.  But rebellious?  That sounds bad… In Shankar Vedantam from NPR’s Hidden Brain interviewed Francesca Gino, the author of Rebel Talent, discusses the idea of rebellion. Questions like why do we do this this way? How else could we complete this task? People who are successful rebels hang in that balance between expertise and experimentation. That’s where the magic is. Just like a few weeks ago when I was stepping outside my comfort zone. My new address.

Perhaps I am rebellious if rebellious means I have intellectual humility, the knowledge that there is still so much to learn. I am a rebel if to be a rebel means I believe that information is power and experimentation is important.

Today redefining myself as a rebellious truth teller. Stay tuned for tomorrow.

Just look for a strong beginning and a strong ending and get moving.

-Chip Heath

Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard.