Thursday, December 26, 2013

Educators Need To Build A Kingdom


      One my best friends and colleagues - Jon Corippo - has always described the role of the teacher as a Maker of Kings.  He saw his role, as well as that all of all teachers, as one who helped each student become king of their own destiny – or really in charge of their own learning (master learner).
      But how does this really work?  Well, if one is going to be a Maker of Kings, then one has to first Create Their Own Kingdom.  Every master teacher, or teacher leader, that I know has created one’s own kingdom.  These teachers have created, and continue to create on a daily basis, a very special place where their students feel safe, feel inspired and feel like they matter. 
      When it comes to these teachers’ classrooms, or kingdoms, students inherently know that they are going to do something special, do something cool and do something that matters.  They know that their interests, skills, talents and selves are going to be utilized and appreciated.
      As a teacher, I was always very fortunate to teach electives.  The idea of creating a kingdom always came naturally to those that teach electives.  After all, we have students who want to be there and joined our kingdom under the guise, or mission, of some sort of common and collaborative purpose.  It was easy to create a family, or family-like feeling, necessary to create a loyal kingdom.
      However, this is not something that is only possible or pertinent to electives. This applies to all subjects, grade levels and classrooms. The metaphor of the kingdom seems relevant and applicable more than ever. 
As a teacher creates and fosters their kingdom, there needs to be loyalty.  This loyalty is not blind or born from fear, but rather that both teacher and student need to come together for the common good of the kingdom.  It is a mutually respective version of loyalty.  Students are loyal to their teacher and the teacher is loyal to the students.
     There needs to be belonging.  Again, this is not belonging in vein of being a commoner who has no choice, but rather that a citizen who believes in their kingdom and the leadership.  And more importantly, they believe in the mission or purpose of this kingdom. 
      There needs to be voice.  Students feel that they are valued citizens in this kingdom.  They believe and know that their input, thoughts and efforts will all be appreciated and utilized.
    Although teachers will and should try to reach every student, not every student will be part of every teacher’s kingdom.  Each student will have to find that special teacher (or two, or three) to be part of that special kingdom. 
     It doesn’t really matter which teacher, class, course or subject, as long as each student finds a kingdom.  The goal for our schools and teachers should be to create one great classroom kingdom after another where every student finds that special home or place.


















Saturday, December 7, 2013

My List of Bad Words in Education

      For many reasons, I’m not normally a big fan of universal bans – i.e. calling something completely useless, without value or even counter productive.  Seems like absolutes are often dangerous.  But there are times, when the time has truly come for some things.  I think most of us would agree that areas of human rights, human dignity and freedoms are not something most of us want to compromise on or consider negotiable.
         Well, I don’t have anything that is nearly that important or crucial – at least on the global human level.  But maybe, in the world of school and education, there are some things that need to be completely eradicated and declared obsolete.  I don’t advocate burning of things, but have to admit I’m tempted here.
         So, as we approach another new year, I’m suggesting that the items on this list disappear forever from the education lexicon:

NOTE TAKING (at least how it’s often used)
         We have to be honest about this one.  Let’s face it, this is still mainly copying down what someone else says and doing nothing with it (study your notes – wow how engaging).  If we want to teach content, concepts, ideas or anything, we have about 1,000 ways better to do that than note taking.  Give it up.  It’s Sage on the Stage and you know it.  I’m not talking about storytelling, direct instruction, a great presentation or anything that can be personalized, interactive and truly educational.  But I am talking about blindly copying something down that a person says or writes.

PACKET
         There might not be another term that I loathe more than packet.  Its every implication is loaded with things that elicit thoughts like meaningless, mindless and busy work.  A packet is a pre-packaged or prepared collection of work sheets and busy work that students do for a certain degree of credit or a grade.  They are handed out to the student without much forethought and completed by the student without much thought.  It’s an ugly exchange of bad paper work.  Unfortunately, independent study and credit recovery have become synonymous with the packet.  A packet tells the student that this work you’re about to do is meaningless, irrelevant and sheer busy work.  It says complete this meaningless packaging of paper and we’ll award you points, a grade, credit or even a degree.  In the end, no one feels good about them.  There are no 21st skills involved in packet completion.   Unless we have huge needs for kindling or are raising puppies without advanced potty training, I suggest packets just go away.

STUDY GUIDE
         This term just reeks of the 70’s or even times much earlier.  It has my 7th grade written all over it.  The late Mr. Bandy just distributed them weekly like medicine.  We took the study guide and filled in the blanks from out text.  It never really evolved into anything.  It was busy work and a very low-level way of sifting through content.  There was no thinking, no analyzing and no response.  We just “filled in the blanks” as part of a larger “fill in the blanks” educational experience.  Sadly, there are people still handing these out today.  It seems productive and students have to be quiet – all part of the illusion of education.

WORK SHEET
         This is baby study guide or study guide Jr.  Study guides are merely a collection of worksheets.  So, the worksheet is just another example of the mindless teacher – student exchange.  Teachers are aware that that they are low level and devoid of true critical thinking and so are students.  In the end, they have been used to keep student busy - not thinking and learning.  When educators here the term work sheet, they should collectively cringe and even dry heave. 
BOOK REPORT
         Reading is great.  Writing is great.  Research is great.  Citation is important.  As you know, much or all of these are not present in most book reports – at least the ones I’ve seen.  Again, everything evolves and the book report needs to as well.  Let’s re-design it and re-name it.  OK?  Thanks.

WORD SEARCH
         Gamification is great.  But in the world of games, we have to do better than this 50’s children’s game of trying to develop vocabulary, etc. Enough said.

         Could there be more?  Sure.  Why don’t you create the rest?  It’s easy to do and it will be quite cleansing.  Try it!!!!




Saturday, November 23, 2013

Educators Need More Than ‘Hustle’, Have To Also Be A ‘Hustler’


      Anyone in education should know that it’s hard work.  In addition to the expectations, demands, versatility and creativity, there is supreme emotional strength needed to survive and be successful.
      We’ve all heard over and over since our youth things about ‘hard work,’ ‘early bird gets the worm,’ and more.  Like in all professions, there are those that deliver and those that don’t.  In some ways, it’s really that simple.
      What teachers and educators need to learn is to be a ‘hustler.’ That’s right.   Learning and winning with students is a game.  Those that learn to play the game, and play it well, will rise above any adversity thrown at them by government bureaucracies, students, parents, colleagues or other.
      Again, educators need to become ‘hustlers.’  This doesn’t have to be the negative street connotation, but rather about those that learn that all systems can be mastered, legally and ethically, to get them to work for you.  We have to play and maneuver at high levels of passion, expertise, confidence and purpose.


      What happened to the definition of ‘hustler’ that was good that was defined at one time as “an enterprising person determined to succeed; go getter”?  We let the more negative definition or connotations take over.
      In terms of school, how does this work?  Well, which classrooms seem to have the best resources and the ‘extra stuff’?  Well, the teachers that are ‘hustlers.”  Which classes and programs get grants?   Those that have educators that are ‘hustlers.”  Who gets great field trips together?  Those that are ‘hustlers.’  Who figures out how to integrate and incorporate technology even though they may not be experts?  Those that are ‘hustlers.”  Who gets great guest speakers?  Those that are ‘hustlers.’  Who learned long ago to not have their career defined by a single standard, assessment or experience?  Those that are ‘hustlers.”
      Get the idea? If educators wait for the system, the school boards, the leaders to make things better, they will wait too long.  Don’t get me wrong.  We need great leaders, school boards and better systems.  They make a huge difference. 


     But good teachers and educators need to realize that they have to work above and beyond those.  They have to take their situation and maximize or optimize it.  They don’t wait for others to bring them cool stuff for their students, bur rather they go get it.  They don’t wait for others to get them funds or support, but rather they go get it.  They don’t wait for others to take them to training or professional development, but rather they go get it.  They don’t wait for others to reform education, but rather they become the reformers. 
      In all professions, those that ‘hustle,’ or become ‘hustlers,’ in all the right ways, are the ones that lead and are successful.  We need educational ‘hustlers’ more than ever.




Sunday, November 3, 2013

SOCIAL MEDIA – ANOTHER TYPE OF NEW LITERACY AND CAREER READINESS



     It might be hard to find something that has transformed the world more in the last decade than social media.  Indeed, governments, corporations, organizations and social movements have been formed, or even transformed, through effective use and implementation of social media.


     In education, as usual, we have been slow to understand and ultimately embrace effective uses of social media.  Maybe it’s the word social that scares us from the beginning.  We are all very aware of the negative activity, topics or images on social media.  Indeed, it’s very reminiscent of the early concerns about the internet. 

     When the web was first available to the public, we heard lots of concerns related to everything from personal security to pornography.  And even though those issues were and are real, we also soon realized the potential positive power of the Internet to transform business and economics, shopping, travel, communication and more. 

     To me, social media, is in the middle of this same transformation.  Most of the world has figured out the dynamic and necessary reach of social media in terms of customers, fans, followers, believers, community makers and more.  But again, as usual, education is behind.  We are simultaneously dismissing the use of social media in education due to the negative elements, while also not attempting to use it as an educational tool for the potential positive elements with students.

     Many educators have already embraced social media for themselves for its again dynamic ability to expand and develop their necessary PLN (Personal or Professional Learning Network).  Among other things, isolation (lack of professional community) and lack of consistent professional development have really hurt education for many years now.   

     Educators, at least those interested in learning and expanding their professional knowledge, are now realizing that social media is an excellent way to connect to other educators and experts globally, as well as to discover free and immediate professional growth materials. 

      But now, the ultimate challenge is how do we teach social media use, skills and applications to our students?  There are many challenges here.  But first, we need to understand why this is an imperative.

      Most of us are now aware of the practice of social media screening for job applicants.  Negative use of social media can really hurt one’s chances with future employers.  According to a new study from market analyst firm On Device Research, 1 in 10 young job seekers have lost a job opportunity because of their social media profiles. In the U.S. alone, the total was 8 percent among those 16 to 24 years old and 5 percent for those 25 to 34 years old.  In a CareerBuilder survey last year, 37 percent of employers said they used social media to screen applicants, and over 65 percent checked out applicants' Facebook profiles.

      But the social media profile analysis hasn't stopped with employers. Now, more than ever, college admission officers are checking up on applicants’ online activity as well.  Kaplan's eye-opening survey of admissions officers last year showed that 27 percent of respondents said they had Googled prospective students, and 26 percent had looked up applicants on Facebook. And of those officers screening applicants' social media profiles, 35 percent said they found something that negatively impacted an applicant's chances of getting in, nearly tripling from the year before.

     So, first we need to educate all students about the potential dangers of negative social media use and how it can impact their future options in college, with employers and companies, etc.  That seems obvious right?  But we have had campaigns for years warning students about everything from smoking to bullying to drug use to sex.  And one could argue that they are often not effective enough. 

     So, is just teaching or warning about the negative implications enough?  Of course it is not.  Our job, as educators, is not only to show students WHAT NOT TO DO, but also to teach them WHAT TO DO.  And this is no different with social media.  This is another form of literacy necessary to truly be successful in the 21st century workplace. 


     Recent studies are demonstrating that college students that use and understand social media are experiencing an edge or more success that their counterparts who don’t.  Recent studies on Twitter’s impact on both engagement and academic performance show positive effects. A 14-week experimental study of 125 university students found increased grades and increased levels of traditional measures of engagement among students who used the medium compared to their counterparts who did not (Junco et al., 2010).

    Ultimately, we need to teach, demonstrate, model and practice social media use with students.  Given the impact and power of social media use professionally, students will be disadvantaged not only if they use social media negatively, but they will also be disadvantaged if they don’t learn how to use it to enhance their career.


     Students need to learn now how to share their talents, skills, passions and accomplishments with the world.  In other words, their Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram use and more are their DAILY RESUME.  For those students that share their positive and professional writing, photographs, videos, music, art, business ideas, volunteer and service work and more on social media, they will have an advantage on those who don’t. 

     They will have created and continually be creating an on-line social media persona focused on their personal and professional passions.  They will have a resume, connections, mentors and more.  They will have an established a PLN as they enter their post-secondary education and careers.   

     Social Media has changed and revolutionized the world.  Our job should be to teach all students that positive and appropriate social media use can change and revolutionize their world for the better. Education is about creating as many advantages for our students that we can. 

    Like many others things in education, we have options here.  We can ignore - which seems ineffective and tragic.   We can warn and preach - which have minimal results.  Or we can teach, model, and mentor for greater success.  Our students deserve it.


































Wednesday, October 23, 2013

WORK HAS CHANGED, SO MUST SCHOOL AND THE MYTHS OF LEARNING



With expressions like School to Work, Career Ready and others, it seems like Education is focused more than ever on getting students ready for the world of work.  However, hasn’t this always been one of the foundational goals?  Yes, there were others such as citizenship, democratic participation, character and more.  But working or employment was always part of the goal right?  Well, this is both a good and bad thing.  How could that be bad?  Well, the problem is that many of the Myths of Learning, as I like to call them, come from our historical world of work.  And they now seem archaic, outdated and ineffective. 



Here are a couple of those myths:



LEARNING MYTH #1 – LEARNING IS QUIET.  For most adults, and even current students, learning is often associated with being quiet.  Our libraries and classrooms are founded on this to some degree.  And indeed, there was a time when “quiet” was a foundation at work.  When work was being part of the assembly line or factory, interaction or dialogue at work was limited and highly discouraged.  Jobs were where we did our individual assignment all day long.  We didn’t question, collaborate or even do many multiple tasks.  Heck, many of our contemporary office jobs were the factory, but just cubicles instead of the factory floor right?  And this is what our 20th century school model was based on.  It’s also often called the Factory Model of School. We duplicated the factory floors, or the cubicles if you will, in our classrooms.  So, we created rows with the boss or supervisor at the front of the rows.  Students were quiet and worked individually on the assignments or work distributed by the teachers.  And no matter how much we know that this is outdated and ineffective, especially in the 21st century workplace, we often still cling to this myth.  It seems logical, practical and comfortable.  Don’t get me wrong…quiet has a place in both work and learning, but it’s not automatically synonymous with learning or higher productivity.  However, learning, at its higher and powerful levels, is not necessarily quiet at all.  Just like most jobs in today’s economy, work – or learning – is collaborative, social, dynamic, participatory, ever changing and sometimes even chaotic.  Those jobs on the factory flow, or even in the cubicles are gone.  These jobs of the past have been replaced now by jobs where people work in teams, have input about their work, change roles frequently, use technology, think and act quickly and more.  Again, quiet has a place. There are times when it is necessary or important.    But don’t confuse quiet with actual ‘work’ or learning.  Most of us can recall being quiet many times in classes and/or jobs and we were not really ‘learning’ or ‘working’ at all.  Similarly, most of can recall some of our best classes or learning experiences.  They were action-oriented places with dialogue, discussion, activities, products and production, interaction, teamwork and more.  I bet our best work experiences are similar.  We love when work is collaborative, fast-paced, diverse, ever changing and goal or product-driven. 



LEARNING MYTH #2 – COMPLIANCE IS LEARNING.  Again, don’t be mistaken.  We all have to comply with rules, regulations, structure and supervision (our bosses).    Naturally, compliance is necessary.  But we can’t always confuse or substitute compliance for progress, advancement or learning.  In the 20th century workplace, again workers did not question their boss.  They did their jobs and shut up.  However, in the 21st century workplace, input from employees is not only acceptable, but also needed and required for real quality work.  Employees need to be part of a team that has a mission, a vision and goals.  Work is now about creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, communication and much more.  We need employees who generate ideas, ask the right questions, seek answers, and go above and beyond. Quietly doing our jobs without being personally and professionally invested does not cut it any longer in the 21t century workplace.  It’s the same now in education.  We can’t just do what we’re told like a robot and call that learning.  Like at work, it’s now more about asking questions vs. giving answers.  It’s more about critical thinking vs. compliance.  Teachers cannot just give a task, get everyone to simply do the task and call that higher-level learning.  Again, are there steps or processes during learning when this is necessary?  Yes, of course.  But Compliance is not the culminating activity.  We need students to be invested in what they’re doing, to have choices on how to complete the ultimate task or project, to be asking questions, to be infusing their ideas and creativity into the task or project.  Compliance in of itself does not lead to the type or learning or learner – or worker or employee – we need to tackle 21st century jobs and challenges.  Basically, real learning – or 21st century work – is not passive, but active.  It’s not just top down.  This is more difficult than all of realize when it comes to the classroom environment, but it is the ultimate educational actualization for all learners and leaders of learners. 



Could I generate more?  Of course as you can probably imagine.  But it’s not just about what I think. Like in the 21st century workplace or classroom, I am not going to give you all of the answers.  Feel free to add to this list right now and even right here if you like.



We can accept that the world has changed and will continue to change.  Whether we always like it or not, work has changed immensely.  What is required now to be successful is vastly different than that of the 20th century.  Remember, half of our college grads are now unemployed or underemployed.  We can’t simply cling to the past and hope for the best.  We have to recognize and acknowledge why and how things are different and then lead the way.  In the end, shouldn’t teachers and educators be constantly evolving and even ahead of the curve vs. safely duplicating outdated practices?  You know the answer.



































Sunday, October 6, 2013

Make All California Teachers Truly California Teachers - Unleash Them


     One of my many mantras is about trying to make education as real world or relevant as possible.  This can apply to all areas of education including teacher hiring, retention, promotion, compensation, etc.  Although I’d like to see tenure, unions and a host of other things reformed, I’d rather start with something that I think is more agreeable, possible, tenable and reachable. 

     Essentially, I would like to see California adopt a statewide standard and process for teacher mobility and salary compensation.  As you know, we already have a statewide credentialing process, a statewide teacher retirement system, a statewide recognition of sick leave accumulation, state department of education and many more examples of our education has a state standard of what teaching is in CA.

     However, in terms of teachers being able to move from one district to another, there is not a standard or anything that equates to mobility, competition or professional recognition.  Teachers are compensated in years of service.  The longer they teach in a school district, the more they make.  Currently, most school districts only allow a teacher to maintain 5 - 10 years of service credit if they move from one district to another.  So, if a veteran teacher wants to move from one district to another, they will have to take a tremendous pay cut.  Although there are exceptions where some school districts are able to go beyond their standard limitation of years of service credit, these are reserved for a small degree of administrative requests based on specialized credentials or experience.


     So, essentially, that almost locks most teachers into one school district for life.  This has traditionally probably worked for many teachers and many school districts.
     But the 21st century workplace is about creating competition and rewarding talented teachers.  If a teacher has 20 years of experience, wants to move to a another school district in the state for any number of reasons, and this other school district wants this teacher, there should be a system that makes this possible and maintains the years of service and their salaries. 
     Naturally, this is complex and provides challenges.  It is important to remember that a school district would always have the right regarding whom they hire.  But shouldn't they be able to hire a veteran if they want to?  And shouldn't the veteran teacher be able to take their years of experience and service with them and be compensated appropriately?
     School administrators do not have to worry about this the same way. They are paid essentially a market price for a particular type of administrative job.  For example, I have the opportunity to apply, interview and essentially get principal or administrative jobs all over the state.  Not only does my credential allow me to do that, but also I can expect to be paid based on the level of position.  If I am qualified and they want me, my salary will not be cut or lowered due to coming from one district to another.  There are areas in the state that have higher or lower salaries based on higher or lower cost of living standards, but essentially, there is a range one can expect for the position, expertise, skill set, etc. 
     This creates mobility and competition.  In addition to being fair and consistent with other statewide educational areas (retirement, credentialing, sick leave, etc.), it will also move education reform forward.  Talented and gifted teachers should have the right to potentially take their skills anywhere in the state and not be punished.  They should not be trapped into working in one school district like a life sentence simply because their years of service will not be recognized statewide.
     It is important to remember that the school district does not have to hire anyone they don't want to.  But if they were interested in someone, their years of service would travel with that teacher.  If a district wants to hire only younger or new teachers, then they can do that as well. 
     Teachers or districts should not be handicapped.  Both should have the right to compete.  Districts should be able to attract teachers and not have their salaries limited.  Our current system almost guarantees life employment within a district one they teach beyond 10 years.  This seems archaic. 
     I don’t know who would fight against this.  It seems like teachers would like this both for the mobility and statewide recognition of their years of service.  It also seems that school administrators would like the flexibility to pursuer and hire veteran candidates and not have their salaries be a hindrance one way or another.  Some might argue that it’s not financially sound from a district perspective.  But how many veteran teachers would any district hire at one time?  And again, they don’t have to hire them.
     I am fully aware that there are many other ways teachers could be compensated beyond years of service.  However, changing that system seems a lot more unlikely and/or difficult.  So, why don’t we take the current system and expand or improve it?
    This seems like something CA could easily adopt and make years of service credit in line with other statewide standards.  Why would we not want any teacher in CA to be able to take their years of service credit with them?  Maybe this is too simplistic.   It seems that teachers would have more freedom and mobility, while the system would have more competition and reform. Teachers should have the same statewide mobility and salary options that us administrators enjoy.  I say Make All California Teachers Truly California Teachers - Unleash Them. 

(images courtesy of Foter)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

YES MAN - JUST SAY 'YES'!!!



    Education, among many things, is about opportunities.  Right?  If Education is about creating, utilizing and benefitting from opportunities, then consider how often we say ‘yes.’  Or rather, consider how often we say and hear the word ‘no.’  Saying the word ‘yes’ is often harder that it seems and quite often the opposite of what we naturally do.  Yes, we say ‘no’ more often and much easier.
     Indeed, a survey conducted a few years ago at UCLA reported that the average one-year-old child hears the word ‘No!’ more than 400 times per day.  Might seem crazy, but think about how often we tell a child ‘no’…sometimes repeatedly in several seconds.  You could argue that more active, or even creative children, might even hear the word ‘no’ even more often. 

      Simply, we all grow up hearing all of the things we can’t or shouldn’t do.  When we get to school, and advance through educational systems, we tend to hear ‘no’ far more often than we hear ‘yes.’  Walk on to the campus of any public school in America and you are normally greeted by a sign or two that shares with you all of the things that you CANNOT do.  Have you ever seen a sign welcoming students and telling them what they CAN do?

     What does this mean?  Well, for amazing things to happen, as well as for opportunities and dreams to be realized, someone has to say ‘yes’.  Right?  The people in charge – teachers, administrators, educational leaders have to learn to say ‘yes’.  It’s not only easier to say ‘no’ - it’s automatic.  That’s right.  We are programmed to say ‘no.’  In the world of regulations, bureaucracy, procedures, rules, doctrine, formats and systems, ‘no’ is the norm and ‘yes’ is the exception.

    When I started teaching 23 years ago, my first principal, the late Elizabeth Terronez, said something that resonates now more than ever.  She told me, the youngest teacher on the staff at the time, that her job was to find a way to say ‘yes.’ She said I would have great ideas, creative inspirations and big dreams for students, but that others and the system would attempt to tell me ‘no.’  She told me to remind her to find a way for her to say ‘yes.’  She, in turn, taught me that this was my job as a teacher with students.  My job was to find a way for me to tell students ‘yes.’

        Again and again, over the last 23 years, I have been reminded daily about our natural or inherent vocabulary of ‘no’ and our avoidance or ignorance of the word ‘yes.’  Mrs. Terronez had a subtle brilliance to know that my career and life, as well as the careers and lives of my students, would be fraught daily with the word ‘no’ and devoid of the word ‘yes.’  She knew that our naturally vocabulary – especially in education - was based on the word ‘no’ and almost ignorant of incapable of the word ‘yes.’

      Mike Smith, a veteran motivational speaker to students and educators, as well as the founder of Difference Makers (www.differencemakers.org), summarized it well for me 15 years ago.  He often asked teachers, educators, school leaders and students, “If it’s not illegal or immoral, why not give it a try?”  This made an impression on me.  It made me check how often I said ‘no’ to the ideas of others or dismissed something as not possible vs. saying, “Yes…let’s do it.”  Nike said ‘Just Do It’ for years, but we didn’t listen.  Doesn’t that make sense?  If it’s not illegal or immoral, why not try it?  In other words, if someone is not going to get hurt or no damage will be done, why would we say ‘no’ instead of ‘yes’?



       Ed Tech leader Jon Corippo (@jcorippo) got it as well.  When the Jim Carey movie YES MAN came out a couple of years ago, he started off the school year with that message of saying ‘yes’ to things.  It became a school wide mantra and theme for the year.  He reminded students throughout the year that great experiences and success would only come from saying ‘yes.’  He showed students that we all say ‘no’ naturally and have to train ourselves to say ‘yes.’  Opportunities, and potentially incredible experiences, will present themselves, but we have to be prepared to say ‘yes.’  We have to fight our natural and dominant urge to say ‘no.’

      Is this relevant to education more than ever?  I would say YES.  If we want to help foster creativity in students, we have to learn to say ‘yes’ to their ideas and imagination.  If we want to create more entrepreneurs, we will need to utter ‘yes’ far more often than ‘no’ to proposals, projects and products.  If we want people to be engaged, passionate, participatory and connected, then ‘yes’ will have to be our mantra vs. the standard educational response of ‘no.’  If we want to teach students how to use technology professionally, and hopefully to improve the world, then we will have to trust them.  Trust will imply ‘yes’ -  while distrust will be connected to ‘no.’

      As we leave the world of teaching standards to teaching skills, this will require teachers and educators to create environments where students hear the word ‘yes’ frequently.  The new world of work in the 21st century is dependent on ideas, creativity and critical thinking.  And these are only imagined once we, and out students, believe.  Belief will come from YES.  Our system, culture and evolutionized response systems will want to say ‘no.’  We will have to fight against those and create a new paradigm of ‘YES.’  YES MAN – JUST SAY YES!!!