I was thinking about the coming January 1st New Year 2016 and what hopes I might be bringing to BCW and its development over the coming 12 months.
I was remembering a friend of mine talking about time he spent in NASA’s space program. He spoke of a social function that many dignitaries had been invited to and the social wheels were rumbling along fueled by wine and good food.
Suddenly one of the scientists ran into the room and yelled, “I have an idea”. The space team dropped what they were doing, walked away from the guests, listened to the idea, asked searching questions, probed possible problems with the idea, and got excited about the idea’s possibilities. The idea was thoroughly investigated and danced with, when the original scientist said “Ah I can see some things I haven’t thought through, off I go” the remaining team turned back to the guests and the socializing continued.
My friend said there was a policy of dropping everything and listening to ideas that were brought forward by members of the team, where all concerned gave full attention to the idea. This had the effect of ideas being well thought out prior to being offered to the team gaze, it meant that ideas were not lost but received with delight by the team and richly discussed. Some parts of an idea might end up needing more attention, or fall over when thoroughly scrutinized, or parts of the idea might be used in other ways than the original scenario. The point being ideas were seen to hold a wealth of possibilities.
This remembering had me thinking that in this coming year for BCW I could pay particular attention to ideas brought forward by members of the team. This includes our reference group of students. Late 2015 a grade 5 student suggested we expand our thinking when doing critical reading strategies. Her thoughts were that reading explorations stopped too soon. That meaning-making and possibilities for action were rarely addressed in reading explorations. We have reviewed our thinking and taken up her idea for expanding our reading strategy documents.
Some ideas fade from lack of sunlight and consequently I’m thinking of ways I can capture those fleeting ideas for discussion and give them some of our attention despite pressure from other areas of our work. Let’s see how effectively I do this in 2016. “Busyness ideas” clamour for our attention and insist that there is no space left for the quieter ideas to be heard. Let’s see how well this project pans out.
It must be said I love a good metaphor. Today I’m going to paint the metaphor of a bright, shiny-green go-cart with yellow wheels and a cerise flag made from an old t-shirt waving on the back. This is what I think of when I look back on BCW in 2015. I see the team building this shiny green go-cart, attaching the new yellow wheels and proudly tying on a bright t-shirt flag… Then the starting gun was fired, and the green go-cart started to pick up speed. As the months went on pebbles started to kick up, clouds of dust started to trail and all the while the BCW team was frantically trying to steer, attach nuts and bolts and keep an eye on the track, all the while hammering along with increasing velocity.
Like an over enthusiastic go-cart team, now with a bit of experience and coaching, I see the BCW team in 2016 starting to direct the cart with greater confidence while deftly avoiding as many pot holes, large pebbles and wayward chickens as possible.
In 2016 I would like to see the BCW team keep the green go-cart adrenalin pumping and the fun continuing. However our steering it this year will be more strategic, we’ll have greater control and bring our experience to guide us around the next series of S bends and hopefully avoid all those pesky, wayward chickens.
I love a good new year, it offers so much potential for fresh starts. I love living overseas because there seem to be at least three more new years that we can call on, should we need more wind in our ‘fresh start sails’.
For me I hope that 2016 will be a time that offers up a great many opportunities to create and develop ideas that are inspired by the real needs of the learners we are in contact with.
I hope that our team gets to generate many ideas and find out how to steer our go-kart in a productive direction that enables our team to get back a little from what we have invested.
In 2016 I hope that we get to spend time together as team, wandering the streets in the old quarter of Hanoi ( or any other interesting location, such as a beach in Bali, the mountains in New Zealand, the busy textile markets in Solo )while discussing new ideas, photographing for new flipbooks and being together in the same place.
My wish for our team is that 2016 is a year of gentle but grand adventures, good health, great locations and fun times together.