Situations become perspectives

I finally finished the second chapter of The Craft of Creativity and it has me thinking more about how we build our perspectives. Moment to moment in the classroom is a flow of situations – things that are objectively happening. I then automatically translate those things (using only concepts that are familiar to me) into a perspective on what is happening in that class.

But that perspective isn’t the truth of what is happening, it is my interpretation of the scenario. What other interpretations might a better teacher have? What intentions did I assume/attribute to those actions? I want to pull apart some common and recurring situations and redefine my perspective. My hope is to generate many new courses of action to break me out of the various ruts that I’ve found myself within.

This reminds me of the advice my mom (a career elementary teacher) gave me – find a positive frame for the thing a kid doesn’t want. For example: “Oh! You must want to spend your recess with me restarting your work since you crumpled your paper up like that! I’m glad we will have one-on-one time to really get it right!” or “I thought I had taught you the safety rules, but maybe I forgot something. Let’s cancel the fun thing and review them, just in case. I can’t think of a reason you would do something that unsafe if you understood my safety rules!”

These are reframed discussions that bring a better perspective to the conversation. But what else can be reframed? What systems are causing problems? What opportunities await with a new approach, if I can stop assuming I completely understand everything the instant it happens? I am seeing this a potential creativity tool with huge potential.

Maybe I can break down common situations like this:

What is literally happening? What should be happening (and why)? What deeper goals are in play here? What completely unrelated methods could give the same results? What if that student could get what they want in some way? How can I seem to say ‘yes’ to their action and also get to the goal?

Maybe it won’t work. Can’t hurt to try.

A new vision for education

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