Struggle: pay attention; keep moving forward – The Talent Code VTR SPW

What if we reframe mistakes to be billed as opportunities to learn? If we truly believe in fail up, fail forward, fail faster, how do we leverage the quick bursts of failure mistakes struggle to propel learning in a new direction?

Struggle is not optional—it’s neurologically required: in order to get your skill circuit to fire optimally, you must by definition fire the circuit suboptimally; you must make mistakes and pay attention to those mistakes; you must slowly teach your circuit. You must also keep firing that circuit—i.e., practicing—in order to keep myelin functioning properly. After all, myelin is living tissue. (Coyle, 43 pag.)

How might we position each learner to work at the edge of their ability, reaching to a new goal,  capture failure and turn it into skill?

Because the best way to build a good circuit is to fire it, attend to mistakes, then fire it again, over and over. Struggle is not an option: it’s a biological requirement. (Coyle, 34 pag.)

How might we establish a community norm that calls for a trail of mistakes to show struggle and evidence of learning? What if paying attention to mistakes is an essential to learn? How might we celebrate the trail that leads to success, to keep moving forward?

TalentCode-Chpt2

Summer Reading using VTR: Sentence-Phrase-Word:
The Talent Code
Chapter 2: The Deep Practice Cell

How might we target struggle so that it is productive? For what should we reach? What if expand our master coach toolkit to include a pathway to sense making and perseverance?

SMP-1: Make Sense of Problems and Persevere #LL2LU

What if we target productive struggle through process? How might we lead learners to level up by helping them reach? When learners are thrashing around blindly, how might we serve as refuge for support, encouragement, and a push in a new direction?


Coyle, Daniel (2009-04-16). The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Deep practice: struggle, mistakes, learning – The Talent Code VTR SPW

How might we deepen learning experiences? What if we see small mistakes and failures as opportunities to learn?

Deep practice is built on a paradox: struggling in certain targeted ways—operating at the edges of your ability, where you make mistakes—makes you smarter. Or to put it a slightly different way, experiences where you’re forced to slow down, make errors, and correct them—as you would if you were walking up an ice-covered hill, slipping and stumbling as you go—end up making you swift and graceful without your realizing it. (Coyle, 18 pag.)

What if, in school (and out), we become serious about learning from mistakes? How will we learn from a mistake if it is erased, hidden, or ignored? What if we learn and share and seek feedback?

The second reason deep practice is a strange concept is that it takes events that we normally strive to avoid—namely, mistakes—and turns them into skills. To understand how deep practice works, then, it’s first useful to consider the unexpected but crucial importance of errors to the learning process. (Coyle, 20 pag.)

How can we tell when deep practice happens and deep learning is in progress?

Making progress became a matter of small failures, a rhythmic pattern of botches, as well as something else: a shared facial expression. (Coyle, 13 pag)

TalentCode-Chpt1

Summer Reading using VTR: Sentence-Phrase-Word:
The Talent Code
Chapter 1: The Sweet Spot

How do we find and get into “the zone” to learn deeply? How might we help every learner dwell in their sweet spot, learning at the edge of their capabilities?


Coyle, Daniel (2009-04-16). The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Deep practice…the right kind of practice – The Talent Code VTR SPW

One of the choices for summer reading in our community is The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. by Daniel Coyle (@DanielCoyle).

Because on an average morning McPherson’s camera captured this average kid doing something distinctly un-average. In five minutes and fifty-four seconds, she accelerated her learning speed by ten times, according to McPherson’s calculations. What was more, she didn’t even notice. (Coyle, 3 pag.)

How might we create hotbeds of talent? What if we experiment to find the right motivation fuel to ignite deep practice? How might we exercise with and as master coaches, a. k. a. talent whisperers?

“Look at that!” McPherson says. “She’s got a blueprint in her mind she’s constantly comparing herself to. She’s working in phrases, complete thoughts. She’s not ignoring errors, she’s hearing them, fixing them. She’s fitting small parts into the whole, drawing the lens in and out all the time, scaffolding herself to a higher level.”

This is not ordinary practice. This is something else: a highly targeted, error-focused process. Something is growing, being built. (Coyle, 4 pag.)

What do we know about building skill? How do we pay attention to errors and learn from them? How might we find “the zone” more often?

The talent code is built on revolutionary scientific discoveries involving a neural insulator called myelin, which some neurologists now consider to be the holy grail of acquiring skill. (Coyle, 5 pag.)

TalentCode-Intro

Summer Reading using VTR: Sentence-Phrase-Word:
The Talent Code
Introduction: The girl who did a month's worth of practice in six minutes.

Myelin is important for several reasons. It’s universal: everyone can grow it, most swiftly during childhood but also throughout life. It’s indiscriminate: its growth enables all manner of skills, mental and physical. It’s imperceptible: we can’t see it or feel it, and we can sense its increase only by its magical-seeming effects. (Coyle, 6 pag.)


Coyle, Daniel (2009-04-16). The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Confidence, strengths, gratitude – A More Beautiful Question VTR SPW

Why do we begin to fear asking questions?

If you fear not having answers to the questions you might ask yourself, remember that one of the hallmarks of innovative problem solvers is that they are willing to raise questions without having any idea of what the answer might be. (Berger, 186 pag.)

How might we develop as questioners comfortable with uncertainty?

When you change one small thing and it works, it can help breed the confidence to change other things— including bigger ones. (Berger, 197 pag.)

If you don’t know, you don’t know.  How often do we hear questions that show uncertainty? I don’t even know where to begin.  I have no idea what question to ask. What if we offer actionable feedback, in the form of positive questions, to highlight what is known to get to what is not known? How might we bolster confidence and bravery to ask the next uncertain-of-the-answer question?

The main premise of appreciative inquiry is that positive questions, focusing on strengths and assets, tend to yield more effective results than negative questions focusing on problems or deficits. Strength-based questioning focuses on what is working in our lives— so that we can build upon that and get more out of it. (Berger, 190 pag.)

AMBQ-Chpt5

Summer Reading using VTR: Sentence-Phrase-Word:
A More Beautiful Question
Chapter 5: Questioning for Life

Usually, my choice of Sentence-Phrase-Word combinations connect to form an idea for me.  In this case, experiment, should be my choice for “the word” from this chapter, particularly pages 198-199.

However, the word I keep coming back to is gratitude.

Happiness researchers such as Tal Ben-Shahar, author of Happier and Being Happy and a professor at Harvard University, believe it’s important to “cultivate the habit of gratitude.” Simply by asking, at the end of each day, What am I grateful for? and writing down the answers in a “gratitude journal,” people tend to be “happier, more optimistic, more successful, more likely to achieve their goals,” according to Ben-Shahar. (Berger, 190 pag.)

What if this is an essential to learn? How might we focus on taking actions to help ourselves and others be happier, more optimistic, more successful than we were yesterday?


Berger, Warren (2014-03-04). A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas . BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING. Kindle Edition.

Teaching the art of questioning – A More Beautiful Question VTR SPW

How are we teaching the art of questioning? Are we frustrated by the questions or lack of questions? What if we are more intentional about thoughtful questioning and reflection? How might we adjust the protocols and processes in our learning environments?

If a [community] is going to encourage questioning, it must teach people to do it well— or risk being besieged by nonproductive questions. (Berger, 171 pag.)

I’m intrigued by the idea not being besieged by precocious and nonproductive questions. How often do we address the first question that is launched? What if we collect many questions and then collaboratively select a questioning path to follow?

AMBQ - Chapt 4

Summer Reading using VTR: Sentence-Phrase-Word:
A More Beautiful Question
Chapter 4: Questioning in Business

How might we enhance our ability to think deeply about the questions that we dwell on and value?

…that clear vision is arrived at, and constantly modified and sharpened, through deep reflection and questioning. (Berger, 161 pag.)

What if we pause to facilitate question-storming to generate many questions?

The Right Question Institute— which specializes in teaching students to tackle problems by generating questions, not solutions— has found that groups of students (whether children or adults) seem to think more freely and creatively using the “question-storming” method, in which the focus is on generating questions. (Berger, 153 pag.)

What if we take up the challenge of teaching the art of questioning? How might we change the conversations and experiences  around learning?


Berger, Warren (2014-03-04). A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas . BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING. Kindle Edition.

Listening, trust, and feedback – A More Beautiful Question VTR SPW

Bennett says that within IDEO, the company recognizes it’s important to create an environment where it’s safe to ask “stupid” questions. (Berger, 80 pag.)

It’s about culture and atmosphere and bravery. Are we striving for progress or perfection?

As the writer Peter Sims noted in Harvard Business Review, most of us, throughout our school years and even in the business world, have been taught to hold back ideas until they are polished and perfect. (Berger 120 pag.)

What if we embrace risk-taking to show our work and thinking early and often? Are we taking actions to teach and model constructive critique for learning?

In committing to an idea, it becomes critical to find a way to share it in order to get feedback. (Berger, 118 pag.)

If we show work in progress, are we fearful that the feedback will cause a shutdown rather than a new iteration?

Which brings us back to culture and climate.

AMBQ-Chpt3

Summer Reading using VTR: Sentence-Phrase-Word:
A More Beautiful Question
Chapter 3: The Why, What if, and How of Innovative Questioning

How are we listening to learners – every learner? What if we use technology to offer everyone a voice and an opportunity to question, to see the thinking of others, and to offer feedback to themselves and others?

Are we listening deeply to each other? Are we observing – paying attention – closely to learn?

Why are we afraid to show our work? What if feedback is asked for as well as given? How might we shift our culture?


Note:

Chapter 3 is also full of interesting, important questions and ideas to ponder. These ideas and questions connect, for me, to assessment, design thinking, and makery.

I have many notes in my book. I am part of a cohort reading this book. I know that others will highlight and help discuss additional ideas from this chapter.


Berger, Warren (2014-03-04). A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas . BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING. Kindle Edition.

Be curious; overcome fear; ask – A More Beautiful Question VTR SPW

[learners] may be self-censoring their questions due to cultural pressures. (Berger, 58 pag.)

What are the cultural norms  in our learning community around asking questions? Who has permission to ask questions?

But this issue of “Who gets to ask the questions in class?” touches on purpose, power, control, and, arguably, even race and social class. (Berger, 56 pag.)

If learners are self-censoring their questions because of cultural pressures, who really has permission to ask questions?

How might we create space and opportunity for additional voices to contribute questions? What if we leverage tools – technology, protocols, strategies – to offer every learner new ways to have a voice?

What would it look and sound like in the average classroom if we wanted to make “being wrong” less threatening? (Berger, 50 pag.)

What is to be gained from using  feedback loops as a way to make the possibility of “being wrong” less threatening?

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 12.55.21 PM

Image from Kato Nim's 4th Grade Class

How might we show that what we don’t know gives direction for learning and growth?

AMBQ-Chpt2

Summer Reading using VTR: Sentence-Phrase-Word:
A More Beautiful Question
Chapter 2: Why We Stop Questioning?

If learners are self-censoring their questions because of cultural pressures, what actions should/can/will be taken?


Note:

Chapter 2 is full of interesting, important questions and ideas to ponder.

Why do kids ask so many questions? (And how do we really feel about that?) Why does questioning fall off a cliff? Can a school be built on questions? Who is entitled to ask questions in class? If we’re born to inquire, then why must it be taught? (Berger, 39 pag.)

I have many notes in my book. I am part of a cohort reading this book. I know that others will highlight and help discuss additional ideas from this chapter.


Berger, Warren (2014-03-04). A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas . BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING. Kindle Edition.

Seeking brightspots and dollups of feedback about learning and growth.

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