Building Ideas Together

I loved this post by Becky Schnekser, titled, “Instead of thinking of ways it won’t work — try thinking of ways it could.” This part stuck out to me:

So here’s my challenge to you.

The next idea thrown at you, before you quickly begin listing reasons it’s not a good idea or how it will not work, take a moment to think of how to use that idea as a foundation and suggest ways to tweak it in order to make it successful instead. This in no way means you have to carry out the plan, if you absolutely do not want to participate, that is fine. Can we make a deal though? Can you encourage others to participate by contributing positive and constructive feedback? Can you find at least two alternatives to the idea that will make it viable? Again, you are not at all obligated to participate, but you can contribute positively rather than negatively. I think you will be surprised how this small change will make you and others feel. Negativity weighs a lot. With all of the advertisements and supplements for losing weight — I think you will agree, no one wants extra weight hanging around.

…The beauty here is when a team of individuals works together positively to incite change rather than taking the initial opportunity to shoot ideas down.

You can read the whole thing here, but I loved the reminder Becky gave me (and hopefully others), that shooting down the ideas of others is quite easy, but ultimately, it does nothing to further learning or relationships in education.

Ewan McIntosh talks about the idea of “problem finders,” and there is a definite connection here.

“Currently, the world’s education systems are crazy about problem-based learning, but they’re obsessed with the wrong bit of it. While everyone looks at how we could help young people become better problem-solvers, we’re not thinking how we could create a generation of problem finders.”

What I believe Ewan is saying that is not about developing “problem-finders” only, but people who both find AND solve problems.

It is easy to criticize and shoot down the work of others, but long-term, what is the benefit?  No solution in education can be “carbon-copied” into every classroom effectively.  Becky, in my estimation, is not encouraging people to ignore criticizing the ideas of others but is inviting them to make them better.  This is not only a powerful process with our peers, but with students as well.

As a reminder to myself…

No one ever goes out of their way to share a bad idea.  It doesn’t mean they don’t happen, but by stifling them and criticizing without input, it doesn’t ensure better ideas in the future but can lead to them not trying again.

I do not want to be the person who stifles the creativity of others, and I thank Becky for the lovely reminder.

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