About Thinks

Sometimes good thinks happen and sometimes bad thinks happen. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between the two.

Some thinks need immediate action and some thinks may remain as thinks forever. Thinks can be angry and heated. Thinks can be joyful. Thinks should never be cold.

These thinks are linked to many other wonderful thinks and I like to attribute these.

These thinks do not necessary reflect those thinks of my employer.

Think long, think on.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ask the positive deviants

In her latest post (and indeed in many posts before) Dianne Ravitch makes the clear point that focusing our attention to poverty will have more of an impact on raising the quality of education for our alleged failing students than any other intervention, such as merit (performance) pay based on standardised testing:

"It has never worked. It failed recently in New York City, Chicago, and Nashville. In Nashvile, teachers were offered a $15,000 bonus to raise test scores. It didn’t make a difference." 

So what would make a difference? This made me wonder about the goodness that could be achieved if we started thinking about poverty using a positive deviance approach.  

For a start, I prefer the term 'remoteness' over poverty. This enables us to include more groups of children in our societies (examples include, and are not limited to, those who are socio economically remote, culturally remote, geographically remote, and those who are marginalised through gender (including roles and identity) and disability).

Positive deviants are those who, despite having the odds stacked against them, manage to  lead successful happy lives (using the same resources and knowledge available to them as their counterparts).  

Instead of providing a community with external experts, the positive deviant approach enables the community to take ownership and leadership in their research and to come up with their own solutions using the expertise of their positive deviants.  It also requires that the community identifies that there actually is a problem, rather than an external expert coming in and telling them so.

Much like the Minimally Invasive Education approach, positive deviance encourages self-organised and participant driven knowledge to take the stage and teach us all something new.

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