“You can do it! You will have many more opportunities. I will help you if you want help.”
“It’s okay- let’s do it again, so you can get it”, because I do not want them to go through life thinking , “If I fail, it means I’m not supposed to do this”.
“Don’t beat yourself up. Let’s try again.”
These are some of the words the Eagles wrote in their journals this morning as they considered what to say to a friend who fails to reach a goal. The question arose: would you rather work with a partner who succeeds when you fail, or who fails with you? Many stated that they’d want to work with someone who succeeds, so they can learn from that person. Some preferred the idea of learning alongside someone on the same level, making mistakes together, growing together.
“An unstoppable force!” is how one Eagle described a team where one partner’s strengths complement the other’s weaknesses, and vice-versa.
At the start of history class, Ms. Laura asked students: what motivates you? why do you work as hard as you do? and after collecting responses, did a beautiful job of refreshing everyone’s memory about the meaning of Socratic discussion: Socratic discussion is not a debate, it’s a principled discussion. There’s no argument to be won; the point is to seek truth, to seek a new perspective. With these reminders, the Eagles participated in student-led Socratic discovery about exploration before lying down to listen to the story of the rise and fall of Dutch New Amsterdam in the New World.
Teamwork was spotlighted during project time, launched by Ms. Anna with a clip about the product design firm Ideo. The Eagles were taken with this radical approach to collaboration and remarked about how “constructive rather than destructive chaos” could lead to great things. They got to put the concept into action by dividing into small teams to critique each others’ games (link to the ideo video: http://vimeo.com/21086801 use password:academy), reporting afterwards how helpful the extra brain power was in improving their work, experiencing first hand the Ideo mantra of “Enlightened trial and error” outpeforming the “planning of a lone genius”.
The school day closed with a revisit to our Hero’s Journey map, as we come close to the end of this first semester at Acton. The questions of Who am I? What promises must be made and kept? Who’s walking with me? have taken on visceral meaning for these young adults as they’ve looked deep within and asked themselves tough questions, worked hard to fine-tune and adhere to their own systems of self-management, decision making and accountability, and collaborated with running partners and small groups on film and other projects.
But for our Heroes, the learning doesn’t stop at 3:15. Except for a handful of Eagles whose intense sports commitments preclude it, Thursdays are chess club day. Carpe Diem!