Learning is messy.
How many times has the planned lesson turned out completely differently because of the interest of your learners and what they deemed to be important in the lesson? How different a lesson might that have been if you had not listened to your learners and gone with them?
How many times have you seen a learner’s research project go in a completely different direction to what he or she told you it would? They were convinced that their research would arrive at point A, but in reality it’s final destination was points. D, E or F.
In teaching and learning, we have an obsession with keeping things neat and tidy. Yet the day-to-day in the classroom or the principal’s office is far from ordered. In education, each and every day, we work with complex and unique individuals – and here I am actually thinking about the learner, although this can also apply to parents and teachers. The fact is that we work in and amongst chaos.
Here’s the thing: it is a peculiarity of working in education that we can only accept the existence of the chaos in which we work if it conforms to an order and discipline completely opposite to what actually defines it! It is a challenge for us to embrace that chaos authentically, to allow learning to be messy, and to see what happens.