Sunday, June 5, 2016

Food for Thought: Who are we?

Dear all,

Hope you all had a fun night at the end of year social. After all the work we have done this year you certainly deserved to have a fun evening.

The last week passed very quickly since the Class of 2016's Graduation. In my closing remarks last weekend I talked about the Cornell University Legacy Project in which older people shared their wisdom about living a happy life. I shared an anonymous quote which linked perfectly to the projects findings. 

Dying To Live
At first I was dying to grow up and go to high school
Then I was dying to finish high school and go to college
Then I was dying to finish college and start working
Then I was dying to get married and have children
Then I was dying for my children to grow old enough so I can go back to work
Then I was dying to retire
And now I am dying
And I suddenly realised 
forgot to live…

For this weeks Food for Thought I want to build upon this and turn to a book I read a few years ago called "Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch, who when diagnosed with pancreatic cancer gave a lecture called, The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams 

This video clip is much shorter than the 'last lecture' and was his last Graduation speech. His comments hold true for all of us and might be worth remember as we inquire into who we are next year.

Last weeks Food for Thought was intended to make you think about your role in the innovation that is taking place in education in general. I believe that some of you saw it as this but others interpreted it as self aggrandizement on my behalf, as the crazy dancer leading from the front and getting others to follow. This was never my intent, because neither the article or the video are about the leader, they are about personal growth and willingness to be part of a movement. Deliberately embedded in the post was the article, 'Poking Holes in Innovation'. My intent was to start you thinking about where do you fit in the changing world of education and what are you doing to change yourself?  Do you want to be part of the ISHCMC movement that creates learning environments based around our achievement culture, positive education and innovative teaching; energizing, engaging and empowering stakeholders?

Randy Pausch in his book, Last Lecture, suggests; 

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” 

I would like to believe that ISHCMC is ready to scale the brick walls of traditional educational thinking and go beyond where we are today. Of course we will have to make adjustments to our ways of thinking and working with each other but this is necessary for any change and move forward. Poking holes in innovation ends with this question to administrators followed by four suggestions: How are you supporting inquiring and curious minds in your school or organization?

Here are some of the things that we will be encouraging next year to support this movement:

1. Sharing is Not the Same as Highlighting What Works and Fails:

  • Celebrations of classroom Innovation will return to the meeting schedule next year where departments Grade Levels and individual teachers will have the opportunity to share what they have tried in their classrooms, what worked and importantly what didn't. 
  • With our new communication teams of Rebecca and Signe and each section having an IT integrationist we will create more time to capture classroom pedagogy so that we can share more of the things that are happening around school everyday and learn from each other

2. Reassurance of What Will Be Measured vs What Used to Be Measured

  • We will be continuing to do MAP testing and other forms of data collection but as you should have realized by now this is predominantly for us to see if our students are growing as learners and how effective our teaching is across certain subjects. This testing should not be seen as the 'be all and end all' of what we are doing because this is not the case. Thus, data collection and analysis is for us to determine the development of our students. That is why we have added PASS testing to our data collection so we know more about the social and emotional side of our students
  • With changes in advisory time for Secondary school and the embedding of personal health and social education programmes in the Primary school  it should be clear that we are taking seriously Marc Prensky's challenge that schools should no longer be about just what students are learning but should move their focus to be about what students are becoming. This of course fits perfectly with the I.B. programmes, the I.B. Learner Profile and ATL skills.
3. Empower With Opportunities (Even for Those Struggling)

  • As I said at the recent Tuesday briefing we will be changing the calendar next year to allow more of you to attend the Learning 2.0 PD at SSIS in October. We can send up to 40 of you to this session.
4. A Framework for Creative Teaching and Learning
  • My feeling is that this will have to be developed deliberately. The word framework could be substituted by the word next year as we look at who we are, I will be working with a small committee investigating how we can maximize the potential of each and every member of our teaching community, ensuring they are all part of our movement and that we are a deliberately developing organization. We will be using the book, "An Everyone Culture' that was  introduced to me last week by one of our teachers, to analyse our own institution and see how we can create an innovative culture for everyone. 
  • The authors, "Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey (and their collaborators) have found and studied companies—Deliberately Developmental Organizations. A DDO is organized around the simple but radical conviction that organizations will best prosper when they are more deeply aligned with people’s strongest motive, which is to grow. This means going beyond consigning “people development” to high-potential programs, executive coaching, or once-a-year off-sites. It means fashioning an organizational culture in which support of people’s development is woven into the daily fabric of working life and the company’s regular operations, daily routines, and conversations."

Have a good Sunday,