Thursday, June 20, 2013

Invoke Behavior

When it comes to change, which happens first…… a change in behavior or a change in belief?  This is an important question if you’re on a quest to see new ideas become reality in every classroom. In my experience, those who believe a change in belief comes first, end up talking about the same ideas year after year. On the contrary, those leaders who work to change behaviors end up opening the minds of their teachers resulting in a culture that sparkles with innovation, creativity, and a passion for learning.

Recently during a twitter chat, the following question came about: If you’ve been a part of an innovative school, what caused it to be innovative?

I responded:

You see, the leader within this particular building created a culture of innovation by answering the relevant question… why?  For instance: Why technology integration is important.  Why failure must be viewed as a success in learning. Why it's important for educators to take responsibility for their own learning. You get the idea.  The leader put specific, timely action plans or SMART goals in place that resulted in all teachers engaging in new behaviors.  After experiencing the effectiveness of such behaviors, we soon changed our belief.  Before long, we were all closing the gap between what we knew and what we actually did.

For some reason, almost intuitively, it seems like belief is a precondition to action.  Instead, let’s invoke a change in behavior.  Learning is useless if it isn't applied. Reading a recipe book is not the same as picking up a utensil and cooking.  Let’s work to get others cooking something new.  Who knows.... they just might like it!  
Are you the two boys talking about it or are you a Mikey and willing to take risks and try something new?  Something to think about.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Learning Is A Consequence of Thinking

How do YOU take responsibility for your own learning?  How do YOU continuously grow the gap between what you know and what you do?  How often do YOU think about your own art of teaching? What do YOU do as a result of those thoughts?  These are questions that I ask when interviewing and searching for the best of the best.  Many candidates respond with a blank stare and struggle with recalling the last educational article, book, or video they’ve read or watched.

Great teachers take responsibility for their own learning and do not wait for their district to tell them when and what to learn.  Most school districts are limited to five professional development days throughout the school year and I believe to be the very best, critical, creative, and reflective thinking must happen daily.  If learning is a consequence of thinking, then think.  Our students are depending on you.

How would YOU respond to such questions?  If you find it difficult, then it’s time to change the wayYOU learn.

“Change how you learn first. Once you change, you won’t be able to go back to teaching the same old way.” ~ Stephen Downes

Please comment and list those connected educators who not only cause you to think daily, but many times differently.  As summer approaches, it’s time we fortify and strengthen our own PLN.