Tuesday, January 30, 2018

#21CLHK10 Takeaways Part 1: Mini-Keynotes with Liz Cho and Carlos Galvez

I was thinking of how to write a debrief of #21clhk10, but I realized after wrestling with the problem for over a week that it wasn't going to happen. There was simply too much: too many great ideas; too many discussions; too many amazing moments. It was going to require several blog posts. With that in mind, I'm going to start with the mini-keynote presentations of Liz Cho (@cho_liz) and Carlos Galvez (@clos_gm).

I should never question these guys, right?
Photo from the #21clhk Flickr feed.
By now, I should know better than to question the judgment of the #21clhk team. By now, I should know that they have insight and vision. But when I heard about the mini-keynote concept, I was lukewarm to the idea at best. I just wasn't seeing where it was going, why it would be good, or how it was going to make an impact. When I saw that Liz Cho and Carlos Galvez were doing them, I knew it was going to be interesting, but I still wasn't sold on the concept.

And then Liz took the stage... She was poised, calm, and deliberate in her delivery. She caught the crowd in her message and even threw some geekiness to Star Wars fans. (She asked us what Yoda had said to Luke -- "Do. Or do not. There is no try.") She told her story as a girl growing up who was not encouraged (in fact seriously discouraged)
Liz coaching.
Photo from the #21clhk Flickr feed.
to do sports. She told us how she saw the silks for the first time and suddenly found the courage within her to try something new; to live a dream she had never thought possible. And she told us how a mentor had been the person who supported her learning; encouraged her dream. She then climbed the silks and performed an amazing display of grace and strength. She took my breath away, but not just mine -- the entire crowd was hypnotized by her beautiful routine with the silks. And when she finished, Carlos took the stage.

People were joking that Carlos was not in a good position having to follow Liz's performance, but then he told the story of the dancing students from his school. Two boys who he saw trying to do something different and so he encouraged them. Not as himself, Carlos developed a
Carlos telling the story.
Photo from the #21clhk Flickr feed.
character and challenged the boys from the internet. They rose to the challenge and then went further than Carlos had ever dreamed imaginable. They started their own dance troop; they performed around the community; they raised money; they donated the money to other dancers who they had met online. It was bigger than Carlos; it was bigger than the boys; it was bigger than the school. And it all happened because he helped encourage some young guys with dreams of dancing.

How can we encourage those around us to continue dreaming? How can we support the dreams of our colleagues and our students? And what can we do with those dreams? If we allow ourselves to dream; if we allow our students to dream, then we can build real things with those dreams. Things that change the world. Few giant changes ever really happened from large events. Instead, small events occurred. Little changes happen due to the actions of regular people doing amazing things. Small forces build upon each other. And over time, huge change happens because someone small dared to dream. And someone else encouraged that dream. From little things, big things grow.
One of the dancers.
Photo from the #21clhk Flickr feed.