Think Stupid to Act Smart!

Recently, during a day-long training session with Nancy Rindone from The Schlechty Center, I heard some prophetic wisdom from Phil Schlechty who said that, "every now and then we need to be stupid in order to act smart." Think about that - we need to think stupid in order to act smart. What Phil was referring to is educators' inability to think "outside the box." We tend to think only about the ways things have "always been done" and we're very quick to shoot down new and exciting ideas. In order to meet the needs of our new learners, we need to allow ourselves to think about crazy things and to reach beyond our comfort level. Only then can we start to explore new ways to reach and teach our students, and come up with new ways to reach and teach each other.

Now of course, Phil is not asking us to just be stupid and irresponsible. It's his clever way of saying we need to let go of anything holding us back - to look at things through different lenses and to feel free to explore ideas that might just seem crazy or outrageous. Often, those crazy ideas when paired down to their practical application are some of the "sanest" ideas we have.

In our district, we are blessed to have a "District Design Team" as well as "Campus Design Teams." Our responsibility is to look at current practice, to reflect, and to explore new ways to engage our teachers and students. We are not a site-based decision-making committee faced with budgetary concerns, or staffing patterns. We are there simply to explore, to think outside the box, and to be "stupid" every now and again. It's a fantastic program to be a part of and has led me to some of the most engaging, insightful, and meaningful dialogue about education I've ever had. I guess it does pay to be "stupid" from time to time.

If you'd like to hear Phil Schlechty talk more about this, watch this great YouTube video!


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