Lots to think about from last week.
On Wednesday a team of staff leaders from Delta Secondary attended an all day workshop on Leading Collaborative Communities with Bruce Wellman. Wellman is a master teacher, who models the key habits and intentions of effective team leaders. As our school moves towards the goal of creating a more collaborative learning culture, leadership within the community will be critical to moving ahead.
Wellman talked about the change leaders in a collaborative community needing to feel comfortable with this discomfort of others. I believe that too often, we compromise our beliefs and values to avoid conflict. Relationships are fundamental to the work but the “culture of nice” favours maintaining the status quo, and we, as teachers and administrators are too often guilty of this.
On Friday, Delta principals and vice-principals were involved in a day long session with Carla Reiger, who helped us with a process for initiating and managing the change process. It was good to ally with colleagues who face similar challenges in their buildings as we worked through the many aspects of the movement towards more personalized learning for students. Later, we enjoyed the company of colleagues at an ADSA dinner and social and I left feeling very fortunate to work with a group of wise and caring educators.
On Saturday morning, I was able to take in TEDxUBC. The focus of the event was on Fast Forward Education. What an inspiring call to arms for educators! Event speakers crafted a sense of urgency for change in an educational system that must prepare learners for a world that is moving fast forward at breakneck speed. As I listened to the speakers I reflected on how far we and our learners will fall behind if we fail to support initiatives designed to modernize education. Aaron Akune nailed it, when he tweeted, “The world is progressing. Maintaining education the way it is now only means that we are falling further behind. The time to act is now!”
West Vancouver Superintendent, Chris Kennedy, told the story of “Students Live” and the unique and relevant learning opportunity that occurred during the Vancouver Olympics. Student reporters were challenged to build an audience and create influence. The results were impressive and gave Chris and the students an opportunity to see what personalized, co-constructed learning could be. Chris spoke about the need to move from individual pockets of excellence to changes system wide. Check out Chris’ presentation notes and videos at his blog, The Culture of Yes. It’s a must read/watch!
Many of the presenters spoke about the need for teacher education programs to lead the change by preparing the next generation of teachers to become facilitators of learning rather than deliverers of content. But can we afford to wait? With tomorrow’s teachers sitting in our classrooms today, what are they learning about teaching?
Presenter, Sunddip Nahal may have said it best when she quoted Meladee McCartney, who said, “The kids in our classrooms are infinitely more significant than the subject matter we teach them.”
TEDxUBC was an outstanding event. I’m amazed at the quality of talent that we have living in our own backyards and look forward to collaborating in the future with many of the folks that I met at TEDxUBC in person and via digital media. Special thanks to the TEDxUBC organizing team of Judy Eng, Faye Chen, Dave McMichael, Randy Sangha, and Bret Conkin.
It’s exciting to be working, learning, and thinking in a time where as Chris Kennedy put it, “your ideas make mine better.”