The Power of Pull at Spring Branch Elementary A presentation for our teachers here at SBE
Today’s presentation is a study into the book, The Power of Pull: How small moves, smartly made, can set big things in motion. All references during this presentation are derived from this book. Citation: Hagel III, J., Brown, J. S., & Davidson, L. (2010). The Power of Pull: How small moves, smartly made, can set big things in motion. New York: Basic Books
Think about this… “ In a radical break with the past, information now flows like water, and we must learn how to tap into its stream. Individuals and companies can no longer rely on the stocks of knowledge that they have carefully built up and stored away. But many of us remain stuck in old practices-practices that could undermine us as we search for success and meaning “ (Hagel, et al). Translation to education: We need the “Power of Pull” within our school system. Let’s discover what that means.
Pull “Pull is about expanding our awareness of what is possible and evolving new dispositions, mastering new practices, and taking new actions to realize those possibilities”(p. 6). “Pull starts by exploring three increasingly powerful levels of pull- access, attract, and achieve” (p.6).
The First Level of Pull: Access Access “is the ability to fluidly find and get to the people and resources when and where we need them” (p.10). Real world examples of the notion of pull would be Google or Yahoo, websites that serve as search engines. These sites help you find anything that you could possibly want or need.
Access in Education As teachers we must gain access to the most current and important knowledge by tapping into new resources and technologies. “It used to be that we could rely on ‘stocks’ of knowledge-what we know at any point in time-but these stocks are diminishing in value more rapidly than ever before” (p.11)
In terms of education: “In more stable times, we could sit back and relax once we had learn something valuable, secure that we could generate value from that knowledge for an indefinite period. Not anymore” (p. 11). Translation to the classroom: we cannot sit back and rest on our laurels anymore, we must seek out new methods, technologies, and diversify our teaching toolbox to ensure our students’ highest possible future.
The Second Level of Pull: Attract “ Our success in finding new information and sources of inspiration increasingly depends upon serendipity- the chance encounter with someone or something that we did no know existed, much less had value, but that proves to be extraordinarily relevant and helpful once we find out about it” (p.13).
“Serendipitous” Events These “events are not always by chance” (p.13) Preparedness increases serendipitous events to occur. “Serendipity is also one of the secret ingredients explaining the continues growth of ‘spikes’- geographic concentrations of talent around the world” (p.14).
“Serendipitous” Examples, Geographically Speaking Silicon Valley computer people congregating Country Musicians moving to Nashville Screenwriters congregating in LA “Talented individuals tend to fo where they have the greatest chance of running into what they need in order to take the next step, even if they don’t quite know or understand what form it will take or who might inspire it” (p.15).
Facebook is an example of a “Serendipitous Event” “ Online social networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn, plan and interesting role in all of this. They help people stay in touch with their existing friends and colleagues, but, increasingly, they also provide environments for serendipitous encounters with friends of friends, or colleagues of colleagues, even people whom one has never met before” (p.15).
The Third Level of Pull: Achieve “We can use these pull techniques to attain new levels of performance and, having achieved these levels, to immediately begin exploring ways to get to the next level” (p.17). An example of “achieve” in the text is “Olympic snowboarders practicing moves in 2009 that were undreamed of in 2006” (p.17).
More on Achieve “The moral of the story? To get better faster at whatever it is you do, you’ve got to be supported by a broad array of complementary people and resources from which you can pull what you need to raise your rate of performance improvement” (p.19).
How can we move SBE toward using the power of pull? Encourage students to form “networks of personal relationships that help to more effectively surface powerful new ideas and tackle challenging performance issues” (p.155). Translation to the classroom: encourage group collaborative work and group problem solving. The results will be astounding and learning will take on a life of its own.
How can we move SBE toward using the power of pull? Encourage our students to keep a journal of interesting people or friends that they meet, and what their ideas their friends have. In an elementary setting this could look like students who are conducting research-then sharing with others and writing down the sets of experiences.
How can we move SBE toward using the power of pull? “ As we make efforts to reach out to, and expand, the relevant weak ties, we should seek not just to meet these people and engage in discussions but to engage them in problem solving and the joint pursuit of opportunities” (p. 171). Translation to classroom: heterogeneous grouping is invaluable- across the curriculum.
A closing thought… “ As individuals, we truly now have the potential to remake our world, not in a way that simply serves our needs, but in a way that deeply honors the potential of all of those around us as well as our own potential” (p.247).
Reflection Many of our discussion this year have focused on collaborative work and its importance to our students as we prepare them for college and career. Forming relationships with people is vital to both our individual and global success. By using the Power of Pull we further this idea of oneness with the universe, and how lasting and important relationships with others can lead to serendipitous events, which in turn mold our future success for the better.
Resources Hagel III, J., Brown, J. S., & Davidson, L. (2010). The Power of Pull: How small moves, smartly made, can set big things in motion. New York: Basic Books