This Could Be Amazing! On the other hand… Fear and Uncertainty in Educational Planning
Intrigued by concepts like project-based learning and the flipped classroom, a school district decides to explore the possibility of injecting its spaces with 21st century settings.
Community planning starts. Some stakeholders jump at the chance to do something new. Others aren’t convinced. It’s an interesting idea, the naysayers say, but the “old” way worked just fine for me. And what if the changes don’t work?
This hypothetical (but perhaps familiar) example shows how fear and uncertainty can get in the way of fostering design innovation in support of advancing pedagogy. Upgrading our schools to help educators respond to the way that students process information and develop new skills is important if we are to create meaningful changes.
How can planners help to alleviate anxiety and pave the way for design innovation?
Embrace the Evidence
Those with anxiety about taking spaces to the next level can experience a major mindshift when they see that other districts have made the leap and pulled off the same type of “thing” to improve learning.
Perhaps a similarly-sized district that embraced project-based learning environments noted a major shift in teacher attitudes and student performance.
Another district discovered that its renovated school not only responded to the flipped classroom model, but inspired further curricular advancements not originally conceived.
These stories of successes in other schools, when shared at community planning sessions, can help reduce anxiety about doing something new and can turn an “I’m not sure” into “I see the possibilities.”
With open minds and champions within educational leadership, the vision for the future can be discovered. What more could we ask for as inspiration?