Paula Intravaia, Design Engineer, @CDMdreamers
“What’s beautiful is that you were all moving in sync while expressing your own feelings.”
“This idea could be a disaster if people interpreted your dance with a different meaning.”
Our K-6 learners have become increasingly adept in participating in feedback, or more accurately, feedforward sessions, during units of study in several content areas through the intentional practice of a design thinking mindset. The comments above happened on an afternoon approaching the date for an exhibition of learning based on our human impacts on earth and outer space. Encouraged to use their unique strengths and interests to design solutions for these impacts, a group of four dance enthusiasts shared their choreographed prototype for informing others about increasingly severe wild weather events triggered by global warming.
Rather than assuming our elementary students are limited in their ability to give and receive authentic feedback or understand the power of metaphor, our school district looks outside of education for ways to extend thinking and develop the capacity to reflect and revise before presenting a polished product. Truly, we value the process without discounting high standards for quality products so long as those products serve a meaningful purpose.
The power of the revision process cannot be dismissed. Mastering a feedback mindset requires practice through numerous and increasingly complex experiences. We seek to stretch learners beyond accepting minor suggestions to independently seeking and respecting other perspectives. One must be willing to imagine terrible futures and be open to making changes, such as adding clues to provide clarity during a dance performance, so more hopeful futures are realized.
The product we’re really after is a learner with a strong sense of agency who has developed cognitive skills as well as empathy and a creative mindset in order to avoid potentially awful mistakes and realize that through their personal strengths they can add value to the community and beyond.
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