We as teachers are so used to making each instructional minute count that we seldom provide slack time. We define slack as space in the curriculum in which students need to go through the process of determining their next logical steps. The process requires patience on the part of teachers and the qualities of curiosity and responsibility on the part of students. Teacher patience, because slack can look like wasted time (we do not think it is!) and curiosity and responsibility, because learning is ultimately up to the student. We often, traditionally, speed things up by reducing variables, declaring exactly what step comes next, cleaning the learning path up, and holding students’ hands. But we should perhaps let them struggle through the process a whole lot more.
Agility is an umbrella term for a number of working practices. In essence, agility seeks productivity and timeliness through regular feedback - and the ongoing adjustments that the feedback suggests - in short iterations of work. The parallel with education is straightforward. Good instruction makes regular use of feedback so that students, working in short cycles, are constantly refining and improving their thinking and work.
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.
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.