Week Two was jam-packed with giving students a decent foundation in life design concepts, while creating a bridge for the rest of the course. We centered this week’s lesson on the concept of radical collaboration. This post provides a quick overview of radical collaboration and my 3 teaching takeaways.
This Week’s Lesson: Radical Collaboration
You might be asking, “What is radical collaboration?“
Here are snippets from how the creators of life design explain it:
What this means is simple – you are not alone. The best designers know that great design requires radical collaboration. It takes a team…learn how to use mentors and a supportive community to help with your life design.From Bill Burnett & Dave Evans’ book ‘Designing Your Life‘ page xxviii
While the idea of asking for help might not seem radical, it can be a source of worry, anxiety, and discomfort for students. Breaking through those feelings takes work. In the 2020 Life Design Summer Institute, we aim to meet students where they are by equipping them with tools to reach out to possible mentors and provides safe spaces in which to do so.
3 Teaching Takeaways
Here are my three teaching takeaways from this week:
1. Focus on cohesion when starting personal lesson planning
Our lesson had a lot of moving parts this week. We aimed to quickly cover design thinking, reflect on the purpose of college via discussions and activities, and bring in a guest speaker to interview. All these parts were important, but fitting them into a 90-minute time slot was challenging.
With co-creating/co-teaching a curriculum, it can be tricky to balance the agreed-upon material and individual teaching styles. This week I learned that I work better when I see how all parts fit together in a lesson.
Understanding this on the outset supports my personal lesson planning because I know where to start. However, it’s easy to get stuck. Seeking help from others (e.g., radical collaboration) has been the most helpful way for me to get unstuck and generate ideas for my lessons.
During this week’s #LDSI2020 session, @JustinLorts‘s students used #radicalcollaboration to develop tons of great questions for a group Life Design Interview with @PrettyHonestDoc.— Nadine Goldberg (@NadineBGoldberg) June 24, 2020
Check out that full chat box! 👇🏻 pic.twitter.com/k4fgHsBsCa
2. Give students a set of reflection tools from various disciplines
One of our aims in this course was to bring in diverse disciplinary perspectives and approaches. Since we had a particularly challenging set of readings this week, I offered some insight into how I organized readings during my doctoral studies.
I emphasized using reflective prompts to engage with readings. My reflective prompts heavily draw from Dr. Irene Clark’s work in Composition and English. We used some of the questions for the written prompts as oral discussion questions.
3. Guest speakers can be powerful so give the ample time
In order to get our students comfortable with radically collaborating, we brought in alums as guest speakers. I wanted all my students to feel empowered to ask a question so I reserved half of our class time for our alumni interview.
In my section, Noreen Okarter was our guest alum speaker. Noreen offered valuable insight and advice. I think it was especially powerful that Noreen works in a space that none of my students mentioned they were considering as a path. Hearing perspectives from individuals operating outside your potential focus area can be quite helpful.
The second session had a lot going on. On a personal note, this week helped me refine my pedagogical approach to our 2020 Life Design Summer Institute. This week also further fueled my excitement about directly connecting students with a mentor, as well as equipping students with tools to start seeking out important conversations.