Watching the Oregon - USC game tonight, I couldn't help but draw some analogies between Coach Chip Kelly's novel approach to the game and what we do as teachers every day.
How many plays do this guy, his staff, and his team employ? Lots. Lots and lots. Kelly tries everything to move the ball, to make the next down, to win a ballgame. We do the same as we alter lesson plans, improve our methodology, increase our use of technology, engage our parents in more and different ways, and employ interventions that assist our students, all in the name of achievement of goals, of student success.
Want to see exciting football? Watch the up-tempo pace of the Ducks; marvel at their no-huddle offense and see the speed with which they move the ball upfield. And upfield and upfield and into the endzone. Likewise, we must find new and exciting ways to draw our students in. Old-school doesn't cut it anymore. To keep them engaged, we must be engaged, too, in the ways in which they are learning. Soon enough, we will all be paperless and textbookless. All of our classrooms will be flipped. We need to release our fears of the new and different and embrace the opportunities for these new ways to learn. To refuse to do so is to welcome a swift defeat.
And in Chip Kelly we find a coach who's got it right when it comes to mistakes, too. His "Next Play" philosophy allows his players to not necessarily ignore their missteps, but rather to move beyond them to the next play, the better play, the winning play. And that's exactly what we do with our kids, every period, every day, every week. We offer them ways to recover from their mistakes and to find real success, for it is in the knowing and growing that real success occurs. When we do this part right - no grudges, no expectations of failure, no pre-conceived notions - kids know they have the opportunity to get it right, too.
Chip Kelly and his Ducks are changing the game. Education is changing, too. Let's make it just as much fun to watch as Oregon football.