It’s time to put a square peg into a round hole

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In a brilliant article, posted on Valerie Strauss’s The Answer Sheet, San Francisco State professor emeritus Mark Phillips shares the following anecdote:

“Edwin Abbott’s classic book, Flatland, tells the story of a square that falls into a world of three dimensions. Returning to his two-dimensional world, he tries to explain his incredible experience. But how do you explain a cube to someone who can only conceptualize two dimensions? Ultimately he’s branded a heretic and jailed.”

This got me thinking about my own attempts at education reform. As I share with colleagues the results-only strategies I use, I’m often greeted with skepticism. Fortunately, I’ve yet to be branded a heretic, but some of the dissenters have recently become vocal. Still, it seems that many of today’s teachers struggle with change.

As Phillips writes, “Most teachers and administrators, dealing with the daily challenges of teaching, don’t have the luxury of thinking beyond the present paradigm.”

Some, however, simply don’t know when it’s time to put a square peg into a round hole.

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Mark Barnes is the author of many education books, including Bestseller Hacking Education, part of his Hack Learning Series, books that solve big problems with simple ideas. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and student-centered learning. Join more than 100,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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