“The answer to most multiple-choice questions is Yes.” Walt Crawford
If you can't stand someone because they can't tolerate others, does that make you hypocritical? If so, should you tolerate their intolerance? AnswerBag
In a recent blog post, I visited the Radical Center of Education and suggested some principles for achieving this enlightened state of mind and how it will result in a change philosophy that may result in change actually occurring.
- Adopt an "and" not "or" mindset.
- Look for truth and value in all beliefs and practices.
- Respect the perspective of the individual.
- One size does not fit all (kids or teachers).
- If you think it will work, it probably will.
- The elephant can only be eaten one bite at a time. Or is it that you can't leap the chasm in two bounds?
- To travel fast, travel alone. To travel far, travel with others.
- Don't be afraid to say, "I don't know."
- Measurement is good, but not everything can be measured.
- Know and keep your core values.
Adopt an "and" not "or" mindset.
I've already written about this first principle and I'll not beat it to death. It does seem that education is increasingly polarized and we ought to all be thinking a lot more "and" rather than always "or." The scarcity mentality most of us live with in public education contributes to a lot of "or" thinking since it seems we often can't afford the "and."
Look for truth and value in all beliefs and practices.
Just so you know, I am not going for canonization or anything, I find following my own advice here is tough - really tough. My first reaction to most people
who are idiots with whom I disagree is to dope slap them now and listen later.
What is difficult to reconcile, however, is that people I often think need to be dope slapped aren't dopes at all. In fact, more than a few are a heck of a lot smarter than I am. So how does one account for a situation in which two intelligent people disagree? Well..
- One or both could be uninformed about the topic at hand.
- One or both could be misinformed about the topic at hand.
- But most likely, those in disagreement bring different values or perspectives to the topic, thus giving specific facts, experiences or arguments more or less weight. Looking at it this way, all evidence ought to be seen as having value.
It is dangerous to mistake disagreement with stupidity - or even ignorance. We must listen, learn, and even, gasp, moderate our own views if we are to retain the Radical Center of Education. In order to find areas of mutual agreement, one needs to keep climbing the abstraction ladder until both parties find a common goal, even if there never is a consensus on the steps needed to reach the goal.
A corollary to this that I find difficult is assuming a hidden agenda or unstated ulterior motive on another's part. Yes, I certainly do think that those who advocate for vouchers are actually advocating for the demise of public education, but one can only effectively argue with stated goals, not those we devise for others.
Two "side," each stubbornly and blindly adhering to a single tenet will not result in change. When both sides move to the Radical Center, based on finding value in each other's views, change will happen.