Use Edges and Value the Marginal

Don't think you are on the right track because you are on a well-beaten path.

An edge is where two or more things meet. This interface, like where an open field meets the forest, is often the most interesting, productive, diverse, and valuable part of a system. There you find the most diversity and abundance. Think about it, can you walk within a forest fairly easily? Yes. Can you walk in an open field easily? Yes. What happens when you try to walk from the open field into the forest? You have to push your way through by stepping over flowers, root plants, sun-loving herbaceous bushes, blackberry brambles, and even small under-canopy trees before you step onto the shady, but easily navigated leafy bedding on the forest floor that is once again easy to move through. Edges are where the most potential for abundance lies and are often unattended to, so use edges and value the marginal. Edges include people, places, things, ideas, processes, procedures, systems, and more.

Think of balancing a ball on your fingertip. There is an edge where the ball and your finger meet, but it is short and none of the other edges touch anything else. It does not take much before the ball falls and the edge is lost. On the other hand, think of a bees honeycomb. There are six-sided (edged) shapes that meet with others on all sides to form something strong, functional, and amazingly beautiful. Elongated edges allow us to explore, engage in, value, relate, and integrate learning and life.

Learners make connections, much like kids snapping together Legos, that link the edges of their own questions, educational subjects, skills, ways of learning, previous knowledge, and personal interests to pattern a sturdy, integrated structure (if well designed). Through these experiences and connections that elongate the edges in learning, natural relationships, and life, they also learn to respect others’ needs, wants, opinions, and right to make choices, as well as empower themselves to do the same. No longer are the edges the tip of our finger, but deep, meaningful natural relationships that inspire trust, tolerance, and understanding.

Zoo v3

What edges can you find in this picture?

Wonder why these things have formed an edge?

Is there a positive, neutral, or negative interaction happening?

Learn more about the principle Use Edges and Value the Marginal

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