Reflection: The Key to Adaptability

Frequent, even daily, mini-reflections lead to adaptable students and curriculums. Ideally, guide the students to where they are comfortable to self-reflect with you. This of course means guiding the kids to where they have the confidence and insight to self-reflect and self-correct instead of relying (or even fearing) external assessment and correction.

On Agile Education in Practice - A Conversation with Paul Magnuson

Paul Magnuson attributes his progressive views on education to over twenty years of experience working in summer camps. He's done with command and control models that tend to favor conformity and compliance over self-regulation, whether it be for students or teachers.


EDgilty suggests that we strive to favor adaptability over rigidity. When we work in a series of small incremental changes, each increment of work will inform the next, with plenty of space for feedback, which should naturally lead to regular, small, manageable adaptations in our plan based on our growing knowledge. Through a metaphor of estimating the time to reach a destination, we get a feel for why adaptability is an outcome of working incrementally, and both an outcome and reinforcer of regular feedback.

Value: Motivation and Knowledge with a Context

Value within a learning environment: a) students see value or a reason to learn the material; b) students think about the topic within in the context of how it affects others and/or within its bigger context, c) students learning has enough challenging (it doesn’t feel like busy work, nor simple Google search); and d) students learning process cultivates confidence and life-worthy skills. Not all learning will involve all 4 aspects, but the more the better!


Uplift is a practice of EDgility that I resisted for a long time and I am still trying to understand both its definition and role. It’s opposite, described here as downpush, is too often the experience of students in school, of that I’m relatively sure. Students do not need downpush, and learning is not enabled through it. But what is exactly its opposite, uplift? It’s not just feeling good, not even just kindness and respect. It also carries an element of feeling good due to a sense of purpose and earned accomplishment.

Smallify to Learn Effectively

Get the big picture: students set goals (outcomes), deconstruct (find the most important (3-5) aspects / skills related to the goal), and then smallify (learn to find the next small step that builds on what’s already done), and finally, learn through deliberate practice (self-correcting as they progress).


Teachers are to provide students opportunities to learn and grow independently.

Rework through Deliberate Practice

Complex projects provide the opportunity to explore and learn what does and doesn’t work. Understanding what doesn’t work and adjusting (redoing) work can often lead to tremendous learning. The caveat is that teachers must create a safe environment, without judgement, which creates space for 'mistakes' and 'rework.'

Cultivating Trust between Administration and Faculty

Cultivating trust is critical - especially as changes are implemented.

Exploration in the Classroom

When students are trusted to explore and know that mistakes are ok, learning becomes fun and engaging. Exploration builds on student interests so they learn the basics naturally - and even specialize on aspects of particular interest to them.