One of my favorite moments of The West Wing is during a conversation between the communications directory and his deputy. It is not one that probably many people have as their favorite, but I believe that it is so important to everything that I do, that I have commited it to memory.
In this conversation, the deputy is able to convince the director that there is a need for a new advertising push to sell the environmental plan that they are espousing. He walks the director through a well worded argument about the need for such a campaign and the director gets it. He has bought in. But, the director asks a key question at this point: “So, what’s your idea?”
The deputy stops short and says that he doesn’t have one. Well, this throws the director into a fit in saying, “Have an idea. You can’t just walk me to edge and then not have anything there. We don’t need to want this idea, we need the idea.” (or something like that)
The reason why this story came to mind today is that someone passed this link to me yesterday (in e-mail of all places). It is a wiki made by Darren Wilson, who I was not aware of until yesterday. He has the idea that we should all create “inspired classrooms”, but more than that he has instructions on how to create such a thing. He has videos of how you should set up desks and then examples of those inspired classrooms in action.
The point is that this individual wasn’t just calling for action or doing his own version of pushing educational boundaries, he is in fact advocating something very specific that can be pinned down. He is saying what a classroom should and should not look like. He is defining it and then challenging others to redefine it.
I want to make sure that I have idea like this, that I am not simply saying to change for change sake. I want to make sure that I am defining the exact kind of change I would like to see and then producing an example of that change that could be used as a model by others.
I’m not sure if I am there yet.