Sunshine in a Time of Crisis

Spring Break 2020 – not the relaxing holiday I was anticipating.

March 17 – Minister Rob Fleming

On March 17th the provincial government announced that all in-class instruction was being suspended indefinitely throughout BC. School districts were suddenly being tasked with turning our primarily face-to-face teaching paradigm on its head — to move everyone into a virtual teaching platform by the end of Spring Break.

To be clear — we were not being asked to move the entire district to an on-line platform. We were not creating a system of on-line teachers and learners. We were being tasked with creating remote learning during a crisis.

There’s a difference.

Storytelling Our Way to Better Comprehension

Superhero Dave

I’m thinking I was probably around 6 or 7 when I began to daydream about my superpowers — where I transported myself to a make-believe world filled with possibilities. I opened my superpowers through an invisible control panel in front of me using buttons and secret codes that gave me those amazing abilities. As an added bonus these powers came with all sorts of cool sound effects.

One of my favourite powers was being able to fly effortlessly around the neighbourhood in search of crime or people in distress. While I didn’t have a name for my new superhero alter-ego, he was able to do these incredible things and make the world a better place. He was cool.

Dave – probably around age 6 or 7

Stories, whether they are true or fictional, paint a vivid picture for your audience that are often filled with adventure, emotions and possibilities. Imagine how excited I was as a kid to occasionally live in this world of make-believe. My guess is that you might have a similar story from your childhood — a time when you imagined the impossible as possible.

The Struggle is Real

A typical moment in my professional life:

I’m at my desk deep in thought — maybe it’s a budget issue, perhaps a community concern, or maybe an organizational dilemma that needs a creative solution. I’m stuck.

It can feel like my brain’s gears are seized or conversely like my wheels are spinning in mud — it’s an immovable tension of struggling to find a solution.

Neuroscientists have learned that the act of struggling is actually an important part of the learning process. Struggling with a problem results in increased neural connections being formed in your brain. The act of struggling forces your brain to develop new networks — bridging the old to the new.