What happens when we’re not thinking? ADE Summer Institute 2011 in Vancouver


Dislcosure: I hate icebreakers. 

One of the funny things–a small, but I think significant, funny thing–at the ADE Summer Institute was the fierce competition among ADEs. 

During the professional talks and presentations ADEs were collegial and extraordinarily generous with ideas and experience. But give them something fun to do, like an icebreaker, and they'll cut you in two–in the nicest possible way. 

On opening day of the Summer Institute, the ADEs were sent off in groups with a box of bits of this and that and challenged to make a catapult. The group that tossed a hacky sack the farthest won bragging rights. When launch time came any team that bent the rules–thought outside the box?–was roundly shouted down as cheaters. All in good fun, of course. But I thought it revealing. In a group of innovative educators who got to where they are by breaking the rules, they looked awfully old school during this game. (A better challenge would have been to make the catapults, test fire them and then crowd-source improvements so the group collaboratively built the best hack sack-chucker.)

It makes me wonder how many times in those moments of being carried away in my classroom I'v unconsciously fallen back on the very habits I'm trying to change in my practice, in my school…in my profession. 


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