You Have To Find Ways Around Things

I received this email from a colleague:

In the mix of conferences…
What if….
We completely reimagined what that looked like??? How would we make that change?

It made me think about IDEO’s blog vignettes called “Thoughtless Acts.”

Human-centered design requires us to observe human behavior with beginner’s eyes, so that we can spot the innate ways people interact with the world around them. We call these intuitive and unconscious reactions Thoughtless Acts. – IDEO

A recent Thoughtless Act called “Going with Gravity” described an old woman leaning over her small wall to pick an herb because it was easier on her body than bending down, and then having to get back up.  The woman, explaining her new moves to her grandson, shared that, “At my age, you have to find ways around things.”

You have to find ways around things. 

I would venture to guess that our teachers and students are always finding ways around things. They find ways around internet content filters. They find ways around limited supplies. They find ways around dress codes, outdated textbooks, and high-stakes testing. So many items that could be added to this list!

Why do so many of the systems, structures, and beliefs of schooling require the users to find ways around them?

Jose Vilson asks, “Why do we hold so tightly to the rigid ideas of what teaching used to look like and work with the generation of students we currently do, with different, valid values and diverse understandings of the way the world works?”

If we aren’t constantly tackling educational systems, structures, and beliefs, then the changes schools make will continue to be Thoughtless Acts of working around the system, instead of working on the system.




One Comment on “You Have To Find Ways Around Things

  1. I believe that may be a failure on educations part. To let the users determine their own path in some circumstances. Often creativity (belligerent or not) is stifled for the sake of the status quo. Often, rebellion or working around the system ignites that creative spark. Much like the rat that instead of going through the maze goes over it.


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