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The Lost Art of Talk | CTQ
"One Friday two years ago, our school had an unusually long lock-down drill. A lock-down is a drill, similar to fire and tornado drills, where teachers and students go through the steps they would take in the event of an active shooter or a hostage situation.

We have these drills about once a month. I’m lucky to have a classroom in our 75-year-old building that is attached to a long, narrow closet. After my students hustled in and sat down, I turned off the light, and because the drill went on longer than normal, the kids started telling stories. The moment took on a summer-camp feel. We were sitting cross-legged in a small, tight circle in the dark.

There was 100% engagement around the circle. No side-bar conversations. No one was checking cell phones. After one kid told a story, there would be laughter or questions or a small moment of lull, until another kid said, “Yeah that reminds me about once in fourth grade…,” and we were off again, a “real or imagined narrative” rolling out naturally, first-draft fresh.

“We should do this every Friday,” somebody said.

“Can we?” another student asked.

“I like that idea,” I said. It felt subversive, but I knew I could defend this practice in the scope of my curriculum.

I teach creative writing at a large urban school, but anyone who teaches anything anywhere on the planet could do this activity. Oral Tradition Friday (which has morphed into just Oral Friday, with all the attendant high school snickers and winks) hits every speaking and listening standard for social studies and science classrooms as well. Oral Friday has been going on now in my freshman and sophomore classes for two years, and it is, by far, the most successful, engaging lesson I “teach” all week long.

Professional Growth Fridays in my junior and senior classes developed along the same pattern. One Friday, I had assigned a very technical, informational article about how writers select a point of view from which to write a story. My students had annotated the text and were prepared to discuss it. But the weather was perfect and little birds were begging us to come outside. So I told my students to leave everything in the classroom including their painstakingly annotated margins, and we went outside, sat in a circle and discussed point of view. Specifically, we talked about how the article applied to their own writing choices. Now, we do this every Friday. One student is elected to find an article about the professional or technical side of writing, distribute it to the class, and lead the discussion as it applies to their work.

When I was growing up as the youngest child in a family of five, we always ate dinner together and seemingly— although my memory may have taken a few instances and extrapolated them into an every dinner staple—afterwards we had what my father dubbed “roundtables.” I don’t remember many of the topics, which tended to center around current events, University of Kentucky basketball, the weather – we were farmers— but I remember the feelings it gave me: the feeling of struggling to figure out how to say what I wanted to say and the more important feeling of being taken seriously by an adult when I talked.

Talking to students is a powerful instructional tool, but allowing students to talk is an even more powerful one. Make your classroom a place where students can talk about ideas, practice the art of spoken persuasion or storytelling, or inquiry. I have elected Fridays as the day we talk because Fridays, as every educator knows, holds magical powers. The weekend stands within reach. The sun shines a little brighter. Use the charming force of that day to initiate learning that doesn’t appear to be learning."
conversation  discussion  talk  pedagogy  2015  lizprather  learning  teaching  howweteach  writing 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Why Talking About The Future of Museums May Be Holding Museums Back | Know Your Own Bone
"Many resources focusing on “the future” are actually communicating about emerging trends that are happening right now…and when we call them “the future” we do our organizations a grave disservice.

Here’s why:

1. Things that are characterized as the future within the museum industry generally are not about the future at all

Check this out: Embracing millennials, mastering community management on social media, opening authority, heightening engagement with onsite technologies, breaking down ivory towers with shifts from prescription to participation, engaging more diverse audiences, utilizing mobile platforms, understanding the role of “digital,” breaking down organizational silos…These are things that we frequently discuss as if they are part of the future. But they aren’t. In fact, if your organization hasn’t already had deep discussions about these issues and begun evolving and deploying new strategies at this point, then you may arguably be too late in responding to forces challenging our sector today.

2. Calling it the future excuses putting off issues which are actually immediate needs for organizational survival

What if we called these things “The Right Now?” Would it be easier to get leadership to allocate resources to social media endeavors or deploy creative ways to grow stakeholder affinity by highlighting participation and personalization? Are we excusing the poor transition from planning to action by deferring most investments to “The Future?”

Basically, we’ve created a beat-around-the-bush way of talking about hard things that separates successful and unsuccessful organizations. For many less successful organizations struggling to find their footing in our rapidly evolving times, their go-to euphemistic solution for “immediate and difficult” seems to be “worth thinking about in the future.” When we call it “the future,” we excuse ourselves from thinking about these issues right now (which is exactly when we should be considering if not fully deploying them).

Contrast this deferment strategy with those of more successful organizations who invariably and reliably “beat the market to the spot.” It isn’t pure chance and serendipity that underpins successful engagement strategies – these are the product of ample foresight, planning, investment and action…all of it done many yesterdays ago!

3. The future implies uncertainty but trend data is not uncertain

Moreover, common wisdom supports that “the future” is uncertain. “We cannot tell the future.” Admittedly, some sources that aim to talk about the future truly attempt to open folks’ brains to a distant time period. However, much of what is shared by those we call “futurists” is not necessarily uncertain. In fact (and especially when it comes to trends in data), we’re not guessing. I’ve sat in on a few meetings within organizations in which trends and actual data are taken and then presented as “the future” or within the conversation of “things to discuss in the future.” Wait. What?

Certainly, new opportunities evolve and trends may ebb with shifting market sentiments…but why would an organization choose uncertainty over something that is known right now?

4. We may not be paying enough attention to right now

I don’t think that referring to “right now trends” as “the future” would be as potentially damaging to organizations if we spent enough time being more strategic and thoughtful about “right now trends” in general. Many organizations seem to be always playing catch-up with the present. If organizations are struggling to keep up with the present, how will they ever be adequately prepared for the future?

5. Talking about the future sometimes provides a false sense of innovation that may simply be vanity

To be certain, we all need “wins” – especially in nonprofit organizations where burnout is frequent and market perceptions are quickly changing. The need for evolution is constant and the want for a moment’s rest may be justified. That said, it seems as though talking about “the future” (which, as we’ve covered, is actually upon us) is often simply providing the opportunity for organizations to pat themselves on the back for “considering” movement instead of actually moving. To have the perceived luxury of being able to think about the future may give some leaders a false sense of security that they aren’t, in fact, constantly trying to keep up with the present.

Talking about “the future” seems to mean that you are talking about something that is – yes – perhaps cutting edge, but also uncertain, not urgent, not immediate, and somehow a type of creative brainstorming endeavor. While certainly brainstorming about the actual future may be beneficial (there are some great minds in the museum industry that do this!), it may be wise for organizations to realize that most of what we call “the future” is a too-nice way of reminding organizations that the world is turning as we speak and you may already be a laggard organization.

Think about your favorite museum or nonprofit thinker. My guess is that you consider that person to be a kind of futurist, but really, you may find that they are interesting to you because they are actually a “right-now-ist.” They provide ideas, thoughts, and innovative solutions about challenges that are currently facing your organization."
museums  innovation  future  futurism  now  programs  excuses  vanity  change  procrastination  certainty  uncertainty  2014  strategy  talk  leadership  administration  socialmedia  communitymanagement  authority  millennials  engagement  technology  edtech  mobile  digital  organizations  nonprofit  personalization  obsolescence  colleendilen  nonprofits 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Caterina.net» Blog Archive » Make things
John Holt: "Leaders are not what many people think–people with huge crowds following them. Leaders are people who go their own way without caring, or even looking to see whether anyone is following them. “Leadership qualities” are not the qualities that enable people to attract followers, but those that enable them to do without them. The include, at the very least, courage, endurance, patience, humor, flexibility, resourcefulness, determination, a keen sense of reality, and the ability to keep a cool and clear head even when things are going badly. This is the opposite of the “charisma” that we hear so much about."

…People ask me who inspires me…often stumps me because I have been inspired in my work by stuff that people make… [bunch of examples]…the people who make these things are my leaders. Most of the time I don’t know their names. Sometimes I’m lucky & do.

So, to hell with all that noise. It’s just a big mass of envy, chatter & FOMO. Let’s get excited & make things."
leadership  caterinafake  johnholt  making  doing  entrepreneurship  inspiration  noise  talk  technology  techindustry  whatmatters  cv  freemandyson 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Talk - Preoccupations
""How many people turn on the radio and leave the room, satisfied with the distant and sufficient noise? Is this absurd? Not in the least. What is essential is not that one particular person speak and another hear, but that, with no one in particular speaking and no one in particular listening, there should nonetheless be speech, and a kind of undefined promise to communicate, guaranteed by the incessant coming and going of solitary words." — Maurice Blanchot

The experience of hearing someone in the family turning on a radio somewhere in the house, and then to become aware that they are no longer attending to the radio, if they ever were, but the radio continues, is surely very common. Yet this is the first time I’ve ever read anyone remarking and reflecting on this.

‘There should nonetheless be speech … a[n] … undefined promise to communicate, guaranteed by the incessant coming and going of solitary words’.

Yes. That."
davidsmith  mauriceblanchot  sound  speech  radio  communication  listenting  hearing  promise  talk  talking  2011 
august 2011 by robertogreco
The Demon-Haunted World
"I want to talk about cities, and “practical city magic” City Magic is a phrase I use a lot - I have a whole bunch of things tagged with ‘City Magic’ on delicious. Where next? It comes from a comic book I love called “The Invisibles” by Grant Morrison... Where next?"
mattjones  technology  ubicomp  everyware  psychogeography  urbancomputing  architecture  urban  cities  geography  local  location-based  location-aware  culture  infrastructure  archigram  presentation  2009  talk  webstock  gamechanging  future  pivotalmoments  mobile  phones  architects  design  history  networks  socialsoftware  situationist  botanicalls  behavior  environment  sustainability  exploration  urbanism  landscape  awareness  nuagevert  bignow  longhere 
february 2009 by robertogreco
WPS1
"WPS1 Art Radio is the Internet station of P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, a MoMA affiliate, featuring an MP3 stream of music, talk, and historical recordings and a free on-demand archive of over 1200 programs."
art  audio  music  nyc  radio  talk  culture  internet  community 
march 2006 by robertogreco

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