What powerful ideas are you forwarding in education, and how are you forwarding those ideas? These are ideas I support.
Teacher Leadership and Shared Leadership
In what ways are you restructuring schools so that you're moving from outdated factory models that have a top-down hierarchy to models of shared leadership that maximize autonomy, mastery, and purpose for all employees? How are you utilizing idea systems to create inclusive avenues for growth and development?
Constructs such as Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) and Response to Intervention (RTI) can serve this movement well if done well. More lead time, inclusivity, and transparency can also serve this movement well? Is information shared regularly and inclusively? Is everyone invited to share their ideas and experiences? How do you maximize the voice, choice, commitment, and investment of the entire learning team including students, families, educators, leaders, and community members?
How are you moving from the one-teacher-one-classroom to shared teaching models? I have had the opportunity to work with a team teaching grade-level approach this year and I have to say it's the best year of teaching I've ever had. What we can do as a team is so much more powerful than what I could do as an individual teacher. There's still room for growth, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.
Learning in 3D
How has your teaching environment moved from "secretarial skill" teaching with computers to learning in 3D with the use of 3D printers, modeling software, computer coding, Minecraft, and more. Are you maximizing your technology tools and efforts or is it more of the same? This is a critical component of teaching well today, but it seems like many schools are reluctant to identify their best talent and energy in this area and give them the green light to innovate, try out new ideas, engage, and empower the learning that's possible. Some school districts like the Albermarle School District is doing this under the leadership of Pam Moran.
Meaningful Learning Design
How are you embedding latest research with regard to growth mindsets, brainwork, cultural proficiency, and social competency to design learning that invigorates and empowers learning? Who is designing the learning? Are you simply buying standard programs or are you tailoring the learning to the children in your schools? The way we design learning experiences with and for students matters and there is so much that everyone in the learning community can do to maximize the potential quality learning design holds.
How are you changing the way your learning environment looks to empower better learning? What small changes can you make right away to make schools less factory-like and institutional and more humane and inviting? What kind of furniture do you have? Do you have rooms designated for specific learning goals? What does your outside space look like? Again, context matters in this regard, but every school should work to remake the learning environment to create a space that students want to be in every day.
How are you motivating and helping educators in your system grow as professionals? In what ways are professionals learning what matters to teach well? Are you accessing the best supports in this regard or are you satisfied to embrace watered-down, standard resources? Do you encourage personal paths of professional learning and support those paths with needed funding and time?
There are so many ways that we can grow schools to be as engaging, empowering, and successful as possible? What matters is that we're doing this with inclusive, transparent, big think, and actionable ways.