Brilliance by Design Book Summary - Brilliance by Design Book explained in key points
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Brilliance by Design summary

Vicki Halsey

Creating Learning Experiences that Connect, Inspire, and Engage

4.4 (147 ratings)
29 mins
Table of Contents

    Brilliance by Design
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    The Brilliance Learning System

    Meet the glass sculptor Dale Chihuly. He is renowned for his beautiful, bold, creative pieces. But the sculptures themselves are perhaps not his greatest innovation. Instead, it was his idea of assembling teams of skilled glassblowers to create the amazing, large-scale artworks. By capitalizing on the synergy of their collective skills, Chihuly and the other artists produce unique pieces that they would never have been able to create on their own.

    When it comes to the classroom, a similar synergy is at play between teachers and learners. At the end of the day, it doesn’t result in intricate sculptures in the shapes of sea creatures or cacti. But this synergy does result in a different kind of masterpiece: the beauty of shared knowledge, empowerment, and new crystallized skills in the minds of your students. 

    When there is synergy in the classroom, teachers and learners work together to reach greater and greater heights. As the teacher, it’s your job to create and foster that synergy –⁠ just as Dale Chihuly does with his teams of glassblowers.

    This is where Vicki’s Brilliance Learning System comes into play. It’s made up of three components, all of which we’re going to cover. The first component is people –⁠ more specifically, people who create synergistic relationships that bring out the best in both themselves and others. 

    How can you become such a teacher?

    A great way to start is by adopting the 70/30 principle. This is the idea that you, as the teacher, should be talking only 30 percent of the time, while your learners should be talking 70 percent of the time. This will make your learners feel like they are the focus of the session. Remember this important axiom: whoever is doing the talking is doing the learning. Learners should spend 70 percent of their time practicing and building skills, and 30 percent of their time learning from you.

    Put effort into getting to know your learners. What are their goals, passions, and areas of expertise? Could it be that you’re subconsciously stifling their learning through your tone, demeanor, facial expressions, or body language? Is your classroom a safe space? 

    Assume that every learner comes to your session wanting to learn, and that those with pessimistic attitudes may feel closed off to learning because of negative experiences from the past – not necessarily because of your class. So instead of getting annoyed, be curious about their experiences and feelings.

    While your focus should be on the learners in the classroom, it’s also important that you invest in yourself. This will help you to bring out the best in others. One way to do this is by practicing self-care. Busy instructors often let self-care slip by the wayside. But if you aren’t feeling good and restored on a regular basis –⁠ if you aren’t, in other words, bringing out the brilliance in you –⁠ you’re going to have a hard time bringing out your learners’ brilliance. 

    Self-care might mean more sleep, more time to eat, walks in nature, mini-vacations, or quiet time with family. Whatever it is, make sure you’re staying fresh, healthy, and inspired!

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    What is Brilliance by Design about?

    Brilliance by Design (2011) is all about creating learning experiences that bring out the brilliance in every student. Targeted at coaches, teachers, mentors, and anyone who spends time in a classroom, it provides a handy and helpful model for high-impact instructional design that will inspire and motivate learners. 

    Who should read Brilliance by Design?

    • Teachers looking to add tools to their repertoire
    • Mentors having a hard time energizing their mentees
    • Anyone who spends time at the front of a classroom

    About the Author

    Vicki Halsey is an instructional designer, speaker, and author with experience as a teacher, counselor, and school administrator. Currently, she serves as the Vice President of Applied Learning for the Ken Blanchard Companies, which specialize in workplace learning, productivity, and leadership training. She is the coauthor of Leading at a Higher Level, The Hamster Revolution, and The Hamster Revolution for Meetings.

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