Monday, May 10, 2010

No plan might be a good plan

Is there a place for a good plan?

Sure, but let's not kid ourselves - planning is guessing.

At best, plans can be used to guide us as we maneuver our way through life. Problems arise when we re-label plans from guides to dictates. When the tail wages the dog, we lose our way.

We tell kids we can't discuss this because we are suppose to be learning about that.

Instead of asking kids what kind of project they want to do, we tell them what project they have to do.

Peter Bergman explains Why Not Having a Plan Can Be the Best Plan of All:

Mark Zuckerberg and his college roommates were computer science students without any real plan. They started Facebook because it was fun, used their talents, and was a novel way for Harvard students and alumni to stay in touch. Zuckerberg never anticipated it would host over 400 million members. And he had no clear idea where the money would come from. But he kept at it until, in 2007, Facebook let outside developers create applications for it, and game developers started buying ads on Facebook to keep attracting players. Hardly Zuckerberg's strategy in 2004.

And when Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founders of Google, started writing code in 1996 they had no clear plan or idea how they would make money either. But that didn't stop them from starting. It wasn't until 2002 and 2003 that AdWords and AdSense became the company's money-making platform.
Lesson planning has taken on a life of itself - often these content-bloated, overly prescriptive lesson plans are by-products of a curriculum that demands kids know an infinite amount of material in time for yesterday.

Just as Mark Twain coined the phrase "I never let schooling get in the way of my education", it is just as true that good teachers don't let lesson planning or curriculum get in the way of learning.


  1. The minute they developed Facebook (even for fun), they began developing a plan. It's a part of thinking. Even in the moment, we create plans - sometimes for minutes later, sometimes for years later. When I got married, it was a covenant, but also a plan - I plan to be with Christy for the rest of my life.

    I see the real problem being that we spend too much time planning, care too much about what other's think of our plans and stick to our plans too rigidly.

  2. My favorite is when people ask me where I see myself in 5 (or even 10!) years. I'm sure there's always a very curious expression on my face, somewhere between a chuckle, a grimace, and a sigh. I think most people know it's a silly question, but for some reason, it's often seen as a sign of maturity if you pretend to have an answer. Personally, I think it's a sign of arrogance and closed-mindedness.

  3. Teaching for ten years, I never least never in detail. I know where we are going but the students determine the depth and pace. I found out early that my detail plans were always modified as I taught, often adjusted for each class. So why waste my time trying to make a plan I am going to modify anyways. It frees up a lot of time and reduces a lot of stress...also I am a better teacher who is connected to his students.


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