“The Road to Success is Always Under Construction…”

Everyday I seek something. What it is or how to define it  – I am unsure.

I think it boils down to the idea of success…in all things. Really this idea is vague, obtuse, and in some people’s eyes unobtainable. In some ways like seeking perfection – idealistic. Yet, my quest remains…

I believe the concept of success and achievement are at the front of the minds of leaders, coaches, and teachers the world over – or at least they should be. How we know when we have gotten there is another debate (perhaps for another blog). Lily Tomlin’s assertion that the “road to success is always under construction,” speaks to me in many ways – not the least of which is that Regina streets should be very successful, but I digress. This week I have come across some great resources and thoughts around this idea of success seeking – not just in the world of education, but in sport and business. As a teacher, I understand that one of my roles is to help students learn about success by achieving it and not simply in an academic sense.

In my office, I have this poem up on the wall and I read it often and try to share it with students whenever I can. The audio here was in the movie “Coach Carter” and I love it!

I am moved by inspiring messages and I want students to be moved too…regardless of the format.

Seth Godin was on a role again this week and had a couple of posts that related to this idea of success and the process of achieving success or not. (I feel like I am visiting Seth’s blog/twitterfeed all of the time and love the way he thinks…!)

The first post that I will look at,  “After you’ve done your best” discusses our reaction to perceived lack of success and our reactions to it. A key point he makes is that assuming we have truly done our best at something that “(l)earning from a failure is critical. Connecting effort with failure at an emotional level is crippling. After all, we’ve already agreed you did your best.” This idea that failure is fatal prevents many from taking risks and indeed achieving long term success. Godin goes on to say that, “(s)uccessful people analytically figure out what didn’t work and redefine what their best work will be in the future. And then they get back to work.”

I think this is an idea that all of us can learn is that mistakes are opportunities to grow and learn from if we have done our best (I know I have said this before – I must be right if Seth agrees 🙂 ).

The second post that I really enjoyed was entitled, “Worth It,” and I will paste the entire thing below as it is short:

That’s a question you hear a lot. “Was it worth it?”
Not certain what either “it” refers to, but generally we’re saying, “was the destination worth the journey? Was the effort worth the reward?”
The thing about effort is that effort is its own reward if you allow it to be.
So the answer can always be “yes” if you let it.

The concept of the journey being the reward is one that I have often used with teams I have coached. Setting up success to be – simply winning the last game can make the destination and winning – hollow.

 by McSaoul, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  McSaoul 
Some time ago I read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “The Outliers,” and was really inspired by the 10,000 hour rule that describes the idea that is takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to master a subject or skill. I have often reflected on where I have spent my time and whether or not I have truly mastered any skills – haha!
This concept is being put into practice by a guy named Dan McLaughlin who Dean Shareski has chronicled in his blog this week. McLaughlin was a non-golfer who has dedicated seven years of his life to becoming a master golfer after having never played before. I love this idea for a couple of reasons – 1) seeing people committed to something (even golf, for you non-golfers) is again inspiring and 2) I am a functioning golf addict and would love to spend 10,000 hours more working on my golf game (maybe even taking my seven handicap down to a ????).
Most important in this example is the idea of committing fully to something that a person cares about. What is it that our students care about and are willing to spend this kind of time doing?
The last resource I want to post today is a basketball specific video on being in the moment that I feel applies to all that we do everyday chasing success. The video is courtesy of Alan Stein who’s blog, Stronger Team Blog, often has concepts that I feel can be applied outside of the area of basketball.
I wanted to comment on Alan Levine’s presentation “50 ways to tell a story” by saying that this was one more presentation that left me spinning with ideas of all of the wonderful things that can be done with students to teach them about telling a story. Life and people are all about stories and sharing our stories so that we connect. I have no idea where I will go with all of these resources in terms of using them with students as I don’t get that opportunity anymore – but I will certainly be sharing this resource with colleagues and picking through a few of these to play with myself.
A couple of blog entries ago I posted a challenge to share more – the challenge was one resource a day and I have been using the hashtag #I’msharing (I know the hashtag doesn’t work as the punctuation breaks the hashtag but I am being a hashtag anarchist – if you want to see the collection check my tweets @mickpanko). I am currently on pace with a little enrichment today so I am excited about that.
I am continuing my work on my summary and digital project so that will keep me busy.
My next undertakings in the social media world are creating a Facebook page for my school and creating a Twitter account that we will use where I coach and run a big basketball tournament for sharing live video links, live stat links, and results during our tournaments. This will involve teaching some student workers about how to use Twitter and I bet creating more Tweeps in the process! On to bigger and better things.
Where are you at with using social media at school? What is success in your world? What about your students? Have you spent 10,000 hours doing something you love – what is it? Are you a master?
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Overcoming adversity – a new way to find success

Adversity is like a strong wind. I don’t mean just that it holds us back from places we might otherwise go. It also tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that afterward we see ourselves as we really are, and not merely as we might like to be.”
— Arthur Golden (Memoirs of a Geisha)

Adversity by cbucky, on Flickr
This past week was the end of my first quarter ever at the Adult Campus as a vice-principal. This meant a very different role than my past experiences as a classroom teacher when final marks were due and a real sense of wonder in regards to how students were progressing in their classes.
The school itself is a non-traditional facility, focused on 18-22 year old learners, that has two groups of students. The first of the two groups, and the smaller one of the two, are upgraders – these are students who have completed the regular Saskatchewan high school program completing 24 credits, but they need to improve marks in the pursuit of entry into post-secondary programs. The second group are students completing an Adult 12 which is a program that requires students to complete 7 credits at the senior level. The Adult 12 learners are primarily students who have not had success in traditional schools.
As I transitioned to this school I was very interested to see how students who had typically struggled academically would find success. In the eight weeks of this quarter I have seen teachers focused on helping students find success, overcome obstacles, and most importantly – build confidence that they can be successful in school. As a classroom teacher these are things I tried to do for all learners, but as a new administrator I was, and am, excited to see teachers doing this for students who have often faced more than their share of adversity at school.
A great thing about the Adult Campus is that failing marks are not submitted – students continue in classes until they are successful in achieving the credit regardless of the amount of time it takes to finish a class. This can create a lot of work for teachers in record keeping over multiple reporting periods but the culture of the school is founded in student success.
How this looked in practice was obviously new to me – I have seen the success a number of students have achieved this quarter and their pride in doing so and this is certainly one of the reasons I do the job. One of the things that I didn’t see – that is so inspiring was students dejected over the results they achieved as they know that they are going to achieve success – the question is not if but when!
In the last few weeks I have been working pretty diligently on my summary of learning and my digital project. Regardless of how these two projects turn out I am really excited about all of the things I have learned this semester and all of the tools that I have been developing for my future use. The last few blogs I have written I have really found myself reflecting on my own growth over the course of this semester in terms of how I think about school and how that is evolving based on the speakers we have heard and the people in this class.
It seems like my new job and this class have been a great mesh for me to evaluate how we do school and how we can do school!!!
Below is the start of my project that I hope to be able to offer to colleagues on building a PLN…I’m learning a new software called Camtasia – it is very cool but not easy 🙂 – very rough beginnings…what do you think so far?
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I share therefore I am…

Always Thinking by KJGarbutt, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License  by  KJGarbutt 

One of the things I learned real early in life was the need to learn from my mistakes so they could be experiences rather than things I would do over again. This has helped me become reflective as an educator and I think helped me to make mistakes learning experiences for me and my students.

In fact, on October 10, in my blog I made the following statement:

“Can I simply take from the group…the last two #eci831 classes I have been keenly interested in the recurring theme of community with Dr. Richard Schwier and Shelly Terrell.  I want to believe that any group of people that share ideas and knowledge (not to mention common interest and passion) essentially become a community – digital or otherwise. While the class readily shares ideas and knowledge through their blogs I wonder what I contribute to the group if I don’t blog as much as I would like or respond to more blogs in comments. Is this being a bad digital citizen? Perhaps, like the real word people give to the group when they can and take from the group as they need. Socialism in a digital world – I think I like it.”

Less than a month ago, I was reluctant to share – to be a contributing member of my own larger digital network. After this week’s class with Dean Shareski I was very inspired to Shareski…I mean share.  I have been a regular blogger and I have become well versed in the Twitterverse. I am consistently finding more resources than I can possibly reflect on in my blog. So I have made a vow to share once a day for the month on twitter (or 30 times as I know that daily is sometimes not realistic) to develop the habit of being a “sharer” – now that I have created this amazing PLN – I need to expand the circle for others…in the same way people in my PLN have done for me! My tweet this morning sharing handouts on #authorspeak was my 700th tweet. Certainly not a huge number, but it will be as I share with others.

If there is no sharing.... by shareski, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License  by  shareski 
In conversation with a colleague at school the other day I referred to my PLN and he asked what a PLN was so I explained to him what it was. He then asked the difference between a PLC (which he had heard of)  and the PLN – I was actually a bit perplexed – although in hindsight the difference is clear. I engaged @tomwhitby with the question and he responded:

Funny, that I have found my PLN far more accessible than any PLC I have ever been a part of, in large part because it is always accessible through Social Media like Twitter.
I have been using a few tools like Summify to track my twitter feed and it works well for filtering information but I still need to filter that further as I do not always have the time to get through everything in it. One of the things I am learning is that I will not get everything from Twitter but what I do get will be great including this cartoon I was sent:
A huge obstacle we need to get over is the idea that what we create is simply our own…when we share we can reinvent and help make each other and our students better. The idea that working collaboratively with colleagues in the same building (PLC) or even across the globe (PLN) is one that will allow us educators to be better and in turn creates better learning situations for students and ultimately that is what we all want.
One of my the most enjoyable experiences I have had as a teacher/educator was the opportunity to work collaboratively with a team of five other teachers to create a locally developed Literacy course – it was certainly a risk sharing at first but as we all worked together and shared our expertise – our students were richer for the experience and so were we as we learned new techniques and skills that became part of our own skill sets.
Please watch my twitterfeed (@mickpanko) for what I hope will be some useful resources. If you can help me embed tweets in my blog I would love to know how to do that too. What do you think of the idea that “if there is no sharing…there is no teaching?”
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Professional Learning for Educators

Learning is Required by Enokson, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  Enokson 
This week my principal was fortunate to attend a technology conference in Regina where he was exposed to some great ideas around using technology in schools. When he returned from the conference he and I had a great discussion around the idea of technology usage and best practice for teachers in their classrooms. Let me start by saying that I have a tremendous respect for my principal as a leader – but I knew him as a wonderful teacher first. He was someone who consistently challenged students to stretch their thinking and encouraged students to seek alternative answers and questions. In this regard, he was certainly ahead of his time – I would suggest he was looking at inquiry based learning before it was “en vogue” in our division. The conversation we had centered on best practice for teachers and what part technology plays in it. Although our opinions about technology use are not the same – I do really appreciate the fact that he encourages our teachers to be critical of their own practices and how they are using technology in their classrooms. The conversation/debate we had was very healthy and informative for both of us.
As an aside he brought back two websites that are outstanding resources for students and teachers:

Revisiting my last blog post and reflecting on the idea of leader as learner I came across this blog linked from Twitter. Principal, Shawn Blankenship expands on the need to be learners first and to look at how we as teachers learn. A quotation he uses from Stephen Downes especially hit home for me, “Change how you learn first. Once you change, you won’t be able to go back to teaching the same old way.”
He also discusses ways that leaders can enter into great conversations with teachers around learning through the following methods:

  • Recognize what our teachers want to learn, as well as, what they need to learn. Then, make an effort to spark their curiosity.
  • Keep teachers in their uncomfort zone. Ask the right questions and want to hear their answers. “How” and “why” and “what if” questions will stretch the boundaries of their minds.
  • Assist teachers in looking at instructional challenges from a variety of angles. By discovering alternative ways of accomplishing the same problem, the teacher will learn a pool of possible solutions.Commend good mistakes when risks are taken, mistakes are made, and lessons are learned. Thomas Edison said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
  • Urge teachers to take the time to practice what they learn. Curiosity without initiative does not translate into results.
One of the ideas that it seems like I have come across a lot is the need to help create students who are independent thinkers. Alina Davis wrote a blog this week on exactly that topic entitled “How to Create Independent Thinkers,” and in it she focused on the work of Art Costa and the “Habits of Mind.” In her blog Davis outlines how Costa says these habits are “dispositions displayed by intelligent people in response to problems, dilemmas, and enigmas, the resolution of which are not immediately apparent.” In other words, they’re what you use when you don’t know the answer. These habits are nothing new, and you probably use many of them every day. But our students don’t have the awareness or vocabulary to express how they think, and may not know they are capable of using these dispositions. By activating and engaging habits of mind—like persistence, questioning and posing problems, thinking flexibly, finding humor, thinking interdependently, and taking responsible risks—our students become better problem solvers. I had never seen this list of habits and I think it will be something I revisit and examine how I developed these ideas in students when I was a classroom teacher. I often wonder if, as educators, we are doing enough to help students develop these “habits of mind” (this is a new term for me).
brains! by cloois, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  cloois 
What do you think about the idea of best practice and technology use? Do they go hand in hand? Are you being a learner? Are you engaged in taking yourself out of your comfort zone as a teacher and leader? Do you create independent thinkers in your classroom or staff?
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If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader…John Quincy Adams

Leaders, educational and otherwise, affect their worlds like pebbles dropped in water – with ripples spreading wider and wider. In the last week it seems that I have come across a large number of posts on twitter and blogs I read on the idea of educational leadership.

As the world of education continues to evolve and change the need for leaders with varied skill sets is ever increasing. The image above depicts eight skills that the modern leader has and I am certain there are far more. Some of the highlights from the last week…

Principal, Eric Sheninger in his blog this week “Be the Change You Want to See in Education,” outlines some of the reforms that he feels fortunate to be a part of leading:
“(E)ach of us has the capacity to initiate positive change in order to create a teaching and learning culture that pushes our students to think critically, unleash their creativity, actively solve problems, promotes service, and inspires students to challenge themselves.  This is the type of reform that I want to be a part of.  Thankfully, this is my reality.”

Obviously, the culture Sheninger talks about is, at least partially, the result of his strong leadership (he is a good follow on twitter too – @NMHS_Principal).

In my ongoing quest to manage the vast amount of information on Twitter I have set up an account on Summify and one day this gem popped up from 30 year veteran Middle School Principal, Mike McCarthy. “Ten Big Ideas for School Leadership,” was an interesting read as it outlined his idea for how to make school work. As a new school administrator I find much value in reading about others experience and how it might impact my ability to be an effective leader. McCarthy’s list is really good and covers many facets of great schools – it includes a couple of nuggets that I really liked and that I agree are essentially important for schools:
1.) Your School Must Be For All Kids 100 Percent of the Time
8.) Have a Bias for Yes
10.) Large Change Needs to be Done Quickly
(Further explanations and points are outlined in the article)

* Content from jarche.com is protected under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License

Another interesting blog that I came across this week was Harold Jarche’s blog entitled, “Leadership emerges from network culture.” In the blog he examines the ideas around how leadership has changed in the different organizational structures that exist in today’s world.

He asserts, “as networked, distributed workplaces become the norm, trust will emerge from environments that are open, transparent and diverse. As a result of improved trust, leadership will be seen for what it is; an emergent property of a balanced network and not some special property available to only the select few. This shift may give us the real democracy our organizations need to realize their full creative human potential.”

This idea that leadership is changing as structures do is not foreign to education as educators create, and are a part of PLNs that extend well beyond the walls of their schools and even districts. I need to look no further then my own experience developing a PLN and the fact that leaders emerge for me within that structure without formal titles or designations. In essence, I have created my own leadership team and I follow their lead with resources based on my own interests and desires.

The idea of informal leadership is also an important one to contemplate as schools and education evolves. How do leadership structures evolve informally and formally in and out of the classroom?

I have long believed that great coaches make great teachers and leaders because they have to look at big picture ideas, set a course for the group, and get buy in from others to make the journey a success. Carol Ann Tomlinson in the October issue of Educational Leadership has written an article entitled, “Every Teacher a Coach,”  which she argues something very similar. She asserts that great coaches possess the following four traits and links them to good educational practice:

  • Great coaches know their sport
  • Great coaches develop players skills
  • Great coaches are great motivators
  • Great coaches are team builders

She finishes with the following statement, “Consider the four attributes of compelling coaching. They make a good case for coaching teachers to be distinguished coaches!

(Sterling Nostedt and I during a U of R Cougar game – I helped coach the men’s team for seven seasons)

I am pretty confident in myself as a coach and would like to think that many of the characteristics that make me a good coach also work in my job as a teacher and administrator.

To me coaching and teaching work hand in hand…glad someone with some letters behind their name agrees – must make me right 8).

Perhaps, the best quotation I came across all week was from Tom Whitby on his blog discussing the “Generational Divide in Education” – he asserts that to improve teaching, learning and leading requires the following,  “To be better teachers we must be better learners. To be better leaders we need to be better learners. This is not generational. Old and young alike can give up on learning. We see that every day.”

This is a big jump but following Whitby’s logic – by taking this class I am becoming a better leader…I like that! Thanks #eci831!!!

@gcouros posted a link to the following video which I thought was interesting – especially in light of my ongoing thoughts around leadership. There is certainly a difference between managing and leading and this video outlines 10 keys by Scott Williams.

I love the statement that leaders are in the business of developing more leaders…

I really found this video thought provoking and have revisited it a couple of times this week already.

“Leaders change the world!”

I want to do that…

What do you think about leadership in education? Do you aspire to make change happen in your world? How do you lead?

Lead, follow, or get out of the way…Thomas Paine

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Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results…Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein by mansionwb, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  mansionwb 
In the real world, where I get paid to work, I have found myself in seemingly constant discussions of late, centered around how we do school. I find the discussions a bit redundant – as many of the people in these discussions are completely comfortable doing what has always been done in school. I can almost here the inevitable voice, “that’s not the way we do things,” or “we never did it that way when I was a student.”
These two quotations may be my undoing as a vice-principal – after all I have been doing the job for a whole month and half.
(note the gent on the left – I imagine this would be how my principal might react if I lost it…this is all in jest and in no way do I condone violence as a problem solving mechanism)
While I do joke, it is important for educators to examine how it is we do school. What do our students need so that they can be successful in the world they will live in and lead? If we do things the same way – how can we expect a different result?
The tools we have today in our pockets make much of what we have done in the past century, well, things of the past.  If our students can do our assignments and pass our tests with out so much as doing any more than  ”Googling” the answers, we are not preparing them for the world in which they live.  We need to embrace the social tools of today, give up the stage, and embrace the new role that teachers must fill today.  Every revolution in history eventually favored those who embraced change.  It is time to move on, throw away our need to hold on to what we know, and work toward creating the next generation of education.
as part of a post on the “Connected Principal” (this may be a pingback, but I don’t really know how to do that – unless this works and then of course I knew exactly what I was doing).
I think that we would all agree that the situation Meister discusses continues to occur in schools – less and less, but it still happens and it begs the question – what do we think students are going to get out of the exercise? Are we really teaching students, directly or indirectly, the concept of sensemaking and wayfinding? George Siemens, in his lecture this week discussed this concept and I found myself thinking that students are far more adept at this concept than most adults as it is a necessity in the world they live in and have grown up in.
Will Richardson, on the site districtadministration.com, in a post entitled “Lifelong UNlearning” describes the need for all of us to be “unlearners.”
“Unlearning is required when the world or your circumstances in that world have changed so completely that your old habits now hold you back. You can’t just resolve to change. You need to break a pattern, to free yourself from old ways before you can adopt the new.” In case you haven’t noticed, the circumstances in our world of education have changed radically. The information that our students once came to us to learn now resides in millions of places online.
I cannot help but think – that because our technological world is changing as quickly as it is – that perhaps the greatest thing we can teach young people is the skill of being an unlearner. Essentially, teaching them how to learn and relearn.
Even more importantly, the students in our classrooms need to be adept and agile unlearners, as well. At a moment when knowledge is expanding at an ever more rapid rate, much of what they “learn” from us will be obsolete or irrelevant in short order. They’ll need to be constantly able to unlearn and relearn using the technologies of the moment as part of an ongoing interaction with knowledge.
I think that this speaks loudly, to the need for students to see teachers – as learners too – expanding our worlds and learning new things.Imagine…even learning with our students.
How are you doing school differently? What are you teaching students so that they can be successful tomorrow? Is your class about “googling” the answers? Are you an unlearner?
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Mick’s Mixed up Observations

This week’s blog is going to be a mixed bag of observations from the last week:

1) I have recently found myself spending an inordinate amount of time trying to be engaged in my digital community – I feel I owe it to the group to be involved, to share, to trust, but mostly to contribute…but how does this work? What is my responsibility?

Can I simply take from the group…the last two #eci831 classes I have been keenly interested in the recurring theme of community with Dr. Richard Schwier and Shelly Terrell.  I want to believe that any group of people that share ideas and knowledge (not to mention common interest and passion) essentially become a community – digital or otherwise. While the class readily shares ideas and knowledge through their blogs I wonder what I contribute to the group if I don’t blog as much as I would like or respond to more blogs in comments. Is this being a bad digital citizen? Perhaps, like the real word people give to the group when they can and take from the group as they need. Socialism in a digital world – I think I like it.

2) The second point I would like to examine is a reflection on a short but poignant blog written by Seth Godin examining the idea of self motivation:

“The rear view mirror is one of the most effective motivational tools ever created.

(This photo is my dog Bisou in my rearview mirror)

There’s no doubt that many people speed up in the face of competition. We ask, “how’d the rest of the class do?” We listen for someone breathing down our necks. And we discover that competition sometimes brings out our best…

If you’re going to count on the competition to bring out your best work, you’ve surrendered control over your most important asset. Real achievement comes from racing ahead when no one else sees a path–and holding back when the rush isn’t going where you want to go.

If you’re dependent on competition then you’re counting on the quality of those that show up to determine how well you’ll do. Worse, you’ve signed up for a career of faux death matches as the only way to do your best work.

Self motivation is and always will be the most important form of motivation. Driving with your eyes on the rear view mirror is exhausting. It’s easier than ever to measure your performance against others, but if it’s not helping you with your mission, stop.”

I guess this ties into observation #1 whereby I must determine what my meaningful contributions can be. I need to own my learning and drive myself to figure out what is important for me. I do know that I continue to work at finding balance in my personal and professional lives but I am motivated to figure this out – whatever that looks like.

If you don’t read Seth’s blog I would suggest you follow it – I don’t read it everyday but I know that when I go there I will likely find something meaningful and thought provoking. I am uncertain who in the class suggested Godin’s blog in one of there posts – but I am certainly thankful for the reference.

3) I have found myself wondering about the connection between this class and my own professional practice. As a new administrator, I am trying to be reflective and figure out what it is that I can do to make the situation I am in better for students, teachers, and myself (on top of trying to figure out what exactly my job is). One of the issues that I feel myself coming back to – is the idea of creating situations where creativity is key in problem solving. After all, I do believe that individually I have thoughts but together we have answers.

Last week on Connected Principals George Aungst contributed a blog entry that was centered around the idea of helping teachers and students become more creative. His six key points were:

  • Plant the seed. Instead of a vague “be creative,” tell someone, “give me an idea that only you could come up with.” According to Marc Runco of the University of Georgia, this simple switch in directions can double the student’s creative output.
  • Make it messy. Creativity is squashed when people feel like they are looking for one right answer. For students, give them problems that have multiple solutions. Even better, give them problems with no clear solution. Mucking around in the problem solving process can free up creative thinking. With teachers, avoid predefining too many of the boundaries, and create situations where problems are left hanging instead of always coming to a conclusion.
  • Never accept the first answer. Even if (or especially if) someone gives you the response you were expecting, say “Can anyone think of another answer?” or “Is there another way to do that?” It sets an expectation that one answer, even if it works, isn’t the end of the process but just the beginning.
  • Teach creativity techniques. We often think of creativity as some sort of ethereal aura that some people have and some people don’t. In fact creativity is a skill and a process. It takes work and it can be taught. Techniques like SCAMPER can give people a concrete handle on something that can seem abstract and complicated.
  • Reverse the roles. Instead of giving an assignment to students, ask them to tell you what they would do if they were the teacher. “What would you ask the class to do to show they understood this unit?” Share the best ideas with the class and let them pick their assignment. This can work for adults as well: “If you were in my place, what would be your priorities?”
  • Get out. Changing the perspective can change students’ thinking. Hold a class, an inservice program, or a faculty meeting in the cafeteria, or the auditorium, or the football stadium. Or in a living room, on the sidewalk, or in an amusement park. Rearrange your classroom, your schedule, or your agenda.

My plan in the coming weeks is to try and use a few of these as I interact with staff and students and work with them to solve problems…

Working Together Teamwork Puzzle Concept by lumaxart, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  lumaxart 
4) In a George Siemens tweet this week I was linked to a Tech Therapy discussion where George discussed MOOCs and the future of education. George discussed many ideas that we have touched on in this class and that I am becoming more open too. The hosts however, were very critical of many of these ideas and it made me think once again about how hard it is to affect change in the world of education. Again, change is hard in a world run by people who have been successful in a traditional form of education. Often begging the question, aloud or otherwise, why fix something that is not seen as broken?
What have I done!? by miguelavg, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  miguelavg 
5) At the risk of seeming sappy, I was moved by a couple of things last week. First, “the other brother” George Couros posted on his blog “The Prinicpal of Change” about a presentation he and Alec did in Calgary and the need to give students the space to inspire us. His reference to the class project in “Pay it Forward,”
although fictional, also reminds me of the power of student creativity (see idea #3) and how important it is to provide opportunities for students to “wow” us and their classmates.
The second thing that moved me happened in my job. One of my co-workers shared a TED talk with us entitled “You Matter” that reminded me of how important the little things that we do matter to those around us. She also put up a large mirror with the words “You Matter” on the top – in a spot where many students and staff alike stop to look in the mirror and see the message that they do indeed MATTER.
You matter too – make a difference to someone today! 🙂
RIP Steve Jobs – a creative genius…
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