It was great to chat with Dr. Catlin Tucker on her podcast titled “The Balance.” I have always enjoyed her blog, and we have recently published her latest book with Katie Novak, “UDL and Blended Learning: Thriving in Flexible Learning Landscapes.“
We covered many topics during her podcast, but as I was listening, I wanted to highlight one in particular.
I shared the idea of focusing on creating the incredible thing we want to do in our schools and classrooms and not waiting for someone to give permission to do so.
The example I shared was with portfolios. If you read this blog, you already know that I believe portfolios are a powerful way to leverage assessment, tap into student passions, and help students create something valuable in school that they can leverage outside of school and after school. But an argument that I have heard many times when discussing this opportunity is that post-secondary institutions might not see them as valuable, so why even do them?
As Catlin and I discussed this, I shared that if you create something really valuable, and people can understand the importance of what you have created, that can lead to a change in practice. I don’t believe in waiting for post-secondary institutions to say, “Portfolios are now valuable, so you should create them.” My goal is to change their practice by showing them the power of this type of learning.
When people see what is possible, they are more likely to embrace the opportunity and see themselves in that picture.
The story I discussed in the podcast in relation to this idea was that of Roger Bannister and his goal to break the 4-minute mile barrier in track and field. Before Roger Bannister, running a mile in under four minutes was thought to be impossible. In fact, during that era, some people thought that you could have your heart explode if you ran a mile at that fast of a pace.
Then Bannister broke the mark.
And once people saw it could be done, they continued breaking the mark. In fact, it happened soon after Bannister broke the mark!
“46 days Bannister’s feat, John Landy, an Australian runner, not only broke the barrier again, with a time of 3 minutes 58 seconds.”
Sometimes, people need to see something happen first before they believe it is possible.
I would rather focus on creating something incredible first and showing others what is possible than allowing the limits of others to define what I can do.
I understand that there will always be constraints in life and learning, but I try to focus on what I can control and create now.
As the line from Field of Dreams says, “If you build it, they will come.”
That seems much catchier than, “I am going to wait for you to tell me what to build and when I am allowed to build it, THEN I will be ready.”
Sometimes I would rather try to create something so others can see that it is possible. That is the best way to erase all doubt.
No one can question what is possible if you have already made it come to fruition.