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Monday, April 03, 2017

Looking Ahead: Research, Reflection, Writing and Collaboration

Good research, reflection, collaboration, and writing lead to good work.

As I continue to think about the success of yesterday's event, I recognize that the success derived from research, reflection, writing and collaboration. If one of those actions were eliminated, we would not have achieved such a successful event.

So what does this mean for future work?

First, it means that I'll continue to carve out significant time for reading, reflection, writing, and collaboration. It's essential to read the research and learn of good ideas as you continue down the teaching/learning road with the aim of doing good work. Similarly, it's important to reflect and write about that research since the reflection and writing helps to make the researched ideas come alive in practice. Finally the addition of collaboration is what makes the good ideas come to fruition with success. It's very difficult for any one person to do good work alone, but it's likely that good work will result when collaboration is involved.

As I chart the path ahead, I want to be cognizant of how I use time so that I remain focused, calm, creative, and collaborative. This means managing energy so that I make good time to read, research, reflect, and write, and with regard to collaboration it means saving the good energy for the collaboration that matters--teamwork where all voices and choices are respected, invited, and acted on.

I'll steer clear of events where voice and choice is not welcome. In the past, I've tried to assert myself in these venues, but now I realize that it's a waste of energy and effort to assert oneself in venues where you've been demeaned, dismissed, and disregarded over and over again. Obviously your work is not invited in those places, and it's best to seek out the collaboration where your good work is honored and welcomed. That's not to say you shouldn't give an unsuccessful event a good review and future tries, but after a number of unsuccessful attempts to collaborate or work in some spheres, it's best to look elsewhere with regard to the good work possible.

I will be choosy in the days ahead about the professional books I read, the commitments I make, and time I devote--I want to make sure that I am using my time and energy well so that, in the end, I am doing the best possible work in the classroom to teach and serve students, their families, and colleagues well.

Questions that will lead this work include the following:

  • Does this work have potential to uplift my practice with students?
  • Does this work receive the kind of support that will contribute to successful endeavor?
  • Are the people who are forwarding this work invested in doing the best possible job for students and families?
  • Is this deep, meaningful work or is this superficial, "check-the-box" work? (Obviously I want to sign on to deep, meaningful work).
  • Does this work have long lasting positive results?
I'm happy to reach this point of discernment as I believe it will help me to travel the teaching/learning path with greater depth and impact in the days ahead. I welcome your thoughts about this if you want to share.