Monday Reflection- ESHA in Amsterdam… “Yes, and…”

Oct 31, 2016 by

Last week I was honored to be one of the keynote speakers for the European School Heads Association (ESHA) Conference.  This year it took place in lovely Maastricht, Holland.  Over 600 principals and superintendents from all over Europe attended.  The energy was great and I was grateful for the opportunity to play a small part in their growth as educational leaders.

One of the other Keynotes was Daan Roosegaarde- a Dutch artist and innovator.  Check out his awesome work here:   His keynote was fantastic and inspiring!  One of the things he spoke about was the common reaction to anything new… the dreaded “Yes, but…”.

“Yes, but it will be too expensive…”

“Yes, but it will not work…”

“Yes, but we will not be able to meet the timeline..”

He gets very tired of hearing this from prospective clients and his own staff.  He even says it himself sometimes and gets tired of it from himself too.

As he spoke, I realized how often we do this in education… in the classroom, in schools, in policy making meetings.   This kind of attitude stifles creativity and passion.  It puts a stop in front of projects before they get started.  It limits genius.   I was lucky to have the keynote following Daan’s so I could address this issue in my own talk.  I simply asked the audience to consider this:

How do we turn our “Yes, but…” into a “Yes, and….”?

One of the things that comedians work on when doing improv is continuing the conversation.  They use the phrase, “Yes, and…” to keep the conversation going.  What if we did this every time a student came to us with a crazy idea?  What if our natural response was, “Yes, and what else could you do with that?”…. or “Yes, and let’s also consider materials you could use to make it affordable.”… or “Yes, and who else could you work with?”

As you have read on this blog before, genius does not fit on a rubric.  “Yes, and…” is a way to continue allowing students to share their genius.

How can you turn your “Yes, but…” into a “Yes, and…”?


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1 Comment

  1. Reinier Bos

    So…see you in Amsterdam…

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