Unspoken Assumption

Six weeks.

Dayton gave me two classes and six weeks to try out the theory that Agile Learning was not just for "those kids". Those kids who are already engaged. Already are supported. Those labeled "high achievers". But for all kids, in all areas of learning.

As I walked into the classroom which had a cross-section of Dayton's students. It was a six week sprint being held in a required class for all juniors.

I quickly came face to face with an unspoken assumption. The assumption that every teacher faces everyday. The assumption of The Bell Curve.

Each class has the "smart" kids, it has the "troublemakers", and it has the kids who are just showing up.

Bell Curve

Three or four "smart" kids. You have to find them some challenges to keep them from being bored. Three or four "troublemakers". You need to find a way to keep them from disrupting others.

And then rest - the ones who are just showing up. For teachers - their job is managing the two edges of the bell curve while trying to incrementally move the center forward. As if it were a mound of jello.

That's the reality most teachers face each day. When I share this observation to them, invariably they look at me deeply and let out a long sigh. Yes, it's hard to be a teacher.

Within a couple of days I quickly learned which group each student fit in.

But I began to wonder, where had this assumption come from? Why could we not see each student as having gifts - essential gifts, that were necessary for us to do something audacious in our six week sprint?

As a technologist, our world is shaped, not by the assumptions of a bell curve but of something called The Power Curve. What might happen if we learned and created with those assumptions of limitless possibility that sought to unleash the Creative Genius of every student?

In those six weeks I ignored the Bell Curve and did my best to create a Power Curve - with transformational consequences.

But I started to wonder about the Bell Curve. Why had it so deeply shaped our understanding of human potential and how we teach? What I found was The Dark Story.