Over the last five years, opening a conversation with a provocative video has been a common approach in discussions regarding the need to evolve our K-12 education system. The Did You Know? approach – in which we show a five-minute video and use it at a springboard for conversation — often soaks up the first 15 or 20 minutes of a meeting. There are a lot of wonderful videos – Justin Tarte recently compiled a great list of twenty-seven of these videos — great for staff workshops, parent meetings, or any other sessions as a conversation starter on education.
I find myself using the video approach less often these days. The videos still do make a strong case for change, but most people get this now and want the specifics on what we can do. In April, I plan to open several meetings with a new video that tackles the issue of reform from what we have learned about our brain.
From our board office staff meetings, meeting with all administrators, to several PAC meetings I am scheduled to attend, I will be using Born to Learn, which is described as “ the first animation in a fascinating series aimed to provide easy-access to the exciting new discoveries constantly being made about how humans learn!”
The video comes from the 21st Century Learning initiative, resident to John Abbott, and it is often referenced around the personalized learning discussion in BC.
After showing the video, I will be looking at the following points for discussion:
- What stands out?
- What are the key messages for parents of young children and early childhood educators?
- How does the “earthquake in the brain” manifest itself in our schools? How do we respond? How could we respond differently/better?
- How do we honour risk-taking from the upper intermediate grades through graduation? How do we stifle it?
- How should what we have learned about the brain (from this video and other research) change our structures/approaches with students in early learning? in their teenage years?
I am interested in what others think of the video, and how it might be used it in their contexts.
Of course, these 15-minute conversation teasers — where we use a video to spur on discussion, may help to shift thinking, but are most valuable when followed up with concrete action. I know many people I work with will say, “Great, we know this.” So, why don’t we do a better job to match what we do to what we know?
The video is clearly part of a larger initiative and is linked to a new website Born to Learn (it is going live on March 28th — after this post’s publication date). Whatever the “New” looks like in education and schooling, it needs to be absolutely in sync with the latest developments in evolving our understanding of brain research and how we learn.