My children decided to be born early in the morning, after a long night of not being born. So my recollection of their births is tainted a bit by time and a lot by exhaustion (nothing compared to what my wife experienced- to be clear!).
But I do remember this. My children were born in a room designed to usher new life into the world. There was space for doctors and nurses to work, tools to check their health and tools to quickly address any concerns, and of course the right furniture to address the needs of the delivery process.
Delivery rooms are designed with purpose. Walk into one, and you know immediately why the room exists. Intentionality is dripping from the walls.
Now, walk into a classroom, and what does it tell you? Does it convey that ideas are born here? Or does it tell you that this is where standardization reigns supreme?
I believe that a classroom should be a delivery room of ideas. Space must be created for students to collaborate, find and use necessary tools, and for urgent needs to be addressed. Creating that space could mean physical spaces using flexible seating or simply intentional design when it comes to decor and seating arrangement.
Creating a space should also- or at its core- be cultural, philosophical, and relational. No matter how well designed a room is physically, if the cultural, philosophical, and relational culture is not present, ideas will be stillborn. Students need to know they can share their ideas and be heard. Students also need to develop the skills to critique and receive criticism of their ideas so that they can refine and develop them. Ideas are born in the collective, and we need to create interactions to foster that.
Ideas are also born out of what looks like chaos. Sometimes, idea birth is scary because it means letting go of some of the control . A student may have an idea that scares you because it is new, different, or not the way you would have done it. And maybe that is for the best. After all, if the old way of doing it is not the best for someone, why not dream up a new way?
Additionally, the Delivery Room of Ideas is not just the classroom, it is the campus. Those delivering ideas may be teachers or administrators. When I read about or see stories on places like Ron Clark Academy or this school in Houston, I see these as delivery rooms of ideas- from students AND educators.
I want to challenge you to think intentionally about the spaces you create. Design Delivery Rooms of Ideas- a place to bring new life and innovation to the world. And for motivation check out this great TED Talk: