A Murmuration of Student Interest? That’s a Thing?

Last week, I spent three days at a remarkable independent school in Atlanta. It’s on the verge of designing a new building for its upper school, and I’m part of the team that is lucky enough to help them think about what such a space should look like — and what ultimate purpose(s) it should serve.

The current building is a rather traditional space — wide hallways, classrooms, a gym, a library that is slowly losing its raison d’être. But the vision of the school is something else entirely — a fusion of aspirational habits, cultural norms, and principles about teaching and learning that are designed to unleash the full potential and interest of every student.

Which leads to a really interesting question: If we begin to reimagine the spaces in which learning occurs, how could we construct those spaces so that the movement and flow of human bodies is closer to the improvisatory choreography of a murmuration of starlings in summertime– instead of, say, the tightly orchestrated machinery of an army of soldiers in wartime?

What would a murmuration of student interest and passion look like in practice? What would it engender?

Categories: Learning

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One Comment

  1. Posted April 30, 2016 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Sam,

    This video is perfect! I love the phrase “improvisatory choreography.” I don’t think many of us think about how often we do this as humans on a day to day basis. We are constantly ebbing and flowing in groups, then breaking away to get something done, returning to our group, creating a bigger group, going solo for a bit, and then rejoining – all in the spirit of getting things done.

    How would a school look with this principle? I think we need to have the autonomy as a foundational pillar, because if not…we lose purposeful improvisation.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Travis

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