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BIG Questions Institute Bi-Weekly Update
November 8, 02023, No. 159 (Read online)
Making the Most of Uncertainty
One of the resources we often cite in our work in schools is a piece titled "Our Brains Were Not Built for this Much Uncertainty" from the Harvard Business Review. The tl;dr version is that when familiar patterns in life begin to fall apart or appear less controllable, our brains react with a threat response, and the negative impacts on our mood and our productivity can be profound.
In liminal, in-between times such as these when so many narratives of how we live on the planet are breaking, uncertainty can become paralyzing. And as we're seeing on almost a daily basis, a common response is to narrow our gaze, to try to stop the bleeding of change, and to hold on more tightly to the remnants of what used to "work."
Even when it's obvious that much of what we're holding on to won't "work" any longer.
But might we learn to see uncertainty as an opportunity, not a threat? To use it as a spark to create new narratives that are more just and relevant and healthy for all living things?
What if, as mythologist Martin Shaw asks, we "reframed 'living with uncertainty' to 'navigating mystery'?"
As he says:
Arguably, nowhere do we need more of "the hum of imaginative voltage" than in schools. Nowhere is the narrative more uncertain and tenuous than the one that suggests that an "education" in a time of intense change and complexity is something that is delivered to students based on the past and not experienced by students in real life with a focus on the future.
And honestly, to suffer (as we must) through the liminal and not contribute to the creation of what comes next is indefensible, especially in education.
This is our moment to collectively write the next story of education, not out of a sense of fear, but with wonder, awe, and curiosity.
What will we imagine and create together?
Homa and Will
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