Possible: A Frame of Mind

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Lately, I’ve been having a lot of conversations about the need for transformation in education. There are so many incredible educators out there – people who are building strong relationships with their students and making learning relevant in a variety of ways. My PLN is a wonderful source of support in this respect as they have so many tools, ideas, and stories to share with the education community.

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However, I can’t help but feel lately that we are preaching to the converted.

How can we broaden our circles of conversation to include more and more educators?

I think there are endless possibilities for how we can connect with others. Face to face within our schools has always been a possibility, district initiatives, and obviously connecting online through blogging and social media such as Twitter and Google +… and yet it doesn’t seem like enough. It is still a very small minority of educators that are working towards a new and different model of education.

Last week, I had the opportunity to spend the day with Will Richardson (@willrich45) as part of my district’s IML Innovators group. Although many people made insightful comments that day, one of Will’s has stuck with me. He said that it is not enough to focus on our practice; in fact, we should forget about changing our practice. Until we have dedicated the time to discussing the CONTEXT, the reasons for which we believe education needs to change, there is no point asking educators to change what they are doing in their classrooms. Students are not being harmed by anyone, so let’s spend some time understanding the why before we jump into the what and the how.

This was brilliant! It made me realize why I often feel like people think I’m nuts. Although I shifted my advocacy focus away from specific tools long ago, I still feel that tools are what most educators want to be given. They think it’s about the technology, that there are teachers who use tech and those who don’t, when really it is about improving students’ learning experiences. I want to transform education, not mass distribute new tech tools into our classrooms. But Will made me realize that perhaps it was bigger than I thought; maybe they don’t understand the context or the possibilities that changes could provide to education. Suddenly, the “problem” seems much more manageable. Although it may be time consuming, we must value reading, sharing, and discussing educational issues with our colleagues. We devote a lot of energy to building relationships with our students, but we often forget to do the same with our colleagues. Possible is simply a frame of mind; I want all educators to be able to envision what’s possible.

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So I urge you to ask yourself: Is possible your frame of mind? Because if it’s not, if we continue to look for faults in transformational ideas rather than strengths and possibilities, then I think we have already failed. The choice is up to us; we all have the power to put a little more possible in education.

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5 responses to “Possible: A Frame of Mind

  1. Such a great post Beverly, one that I have been struggling to put into words myself. Will’s point about discussions on context vs changes in practice still resonate with me too. I need to help put that into practice.

    Karen

    • Thanks for the comment, Karen.

      I think a lot of us are struggling with how to put that into practice! Building relationships takes time though, so first of all, I think we need to be patient with others and understand that they are not coming from the same place we are.

      Beverley

  2. Beverly, I’ve been feeling much the same way about preaching to the converted and i agree-there are so many inspiring educators out there! I’m clear about the ‘whys’ in my head but I find educators too busy to want to talk much about the ‘whys’ and then it feels like we are pushing the ‘what’s and how to’s’ we all need space/time to engage in the messy conversations to bring about more of the possible.
    I’m thinking the converted need to slow down? But then that can dampen spirit too? Finding the balance is tough.
    Great post.

    • Valerie,
      I’m not sure that we need to slow down ourselves (although for myself, I am working on at least finding a clear focus) but I do think we need to slow down with others. I agree that many educators think they don’t have the time to participate in these conversations. They are right; no one has the time. The difference is that of us who understand our “why” make the time because we know change is necessary. I think the first step is building those relationships amongst colleagues so that open, respectful discussion and trust are well established. Without this, we can never truly create change in the system… and I think that’s our goal.

      Thanks for the comment!
      Beverley

  3. Pingback: Possible: Kids Get It | Experiments in Learning

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