Thinking Differently

Throughout the day we have opportunities to think differently, to value thought patterns that might not be our own, and ask questions from different viewpoints. The question that I have been wondering about is how often do the adults think differently so that students can think differently? We are in a profession that is helping to prepare our future thinkers to think in asymmetrical ways. To prepare them to observe, reflect, and innovate comes from an environment that honors and encourages individual thoughts. How do we create that culture of questioning?

In the book,  “Whiplash” by Joi Ito,  there’s a quote that has stuck with me about positive deviance, not defiance, but deviance where we break away from normal modes of thinking to create for the good of society. Check out the page that Glenn Robbins shared. I marked it up a bit to show thoughts I felt were important. From the two pages that Glenn shared, this book looks like an outstanding read!

Now really think to the time that you started thinking differently. When was it? Why did you begin to look at problems from multiple perspectives?

Now think to times where students have had opportunities to think differently. When has that happened? What do students show when they approach with ideas different from your own?

We are at a point where we can’t tell students what to think, we must expect them to think on their own, ask their own questions, build their own curiosity. These items don’t just come ingrained with students when they come to school, but they can be ingrained when our students leave. Our approaches to learning must change along with the environments we have set up. Really look at how the school you teach at flows. Does it embody the sense of thinking differently or is it a do as I say type environment?

This statement embodies what I truly believe. We must, in order to change, collaborate with and encourage others to dream big. To think about the world as a place for pushing boundaries and imagining what it could be compared to what it can’t be. To truly encourage different thinking we have to inspire our students to come up with their own questions and wonders.img_0529

Challenges will come to those who seek. Boredom will come to those who stay with the status quo.


Thinking differently results in ideas that we might not have thought of. This can lead to feelings of unworthiness because of how others judge an idea. If we want our students to leave each day knowing their ideas are valued and being a positive deviant is ok, then we need to express to all stakeholders the importance of ideating and feedback.

Glenn sent a picture to me the sums up the idea of thinking differently. We don’t follow someone’s plan to be successful, we must find out our own blueprint. This will look different for each student, but it’s their own plan, not one given to them by a teacher.

c1rufclxaae7l7_I know that thinking differently was not a strong suit for me in school, but now as an adult, it is something that I have embraced. If learning can embody different ideas, the future is bright. If learning continues with the status quo then our future is very dim. Ideas brighten the world and I know I want to follow the light.

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment or share an idea that you have been working with. Let’s think differently. Let’s all be positive deviants!


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