Monday, May 22, 2017

Ideas: Troubling Yet Noteworthy

It was thought provoking to see ideas shared at a meeting that led to great debate later show up on a list of important challenges.

At first when the ideas were expressed, those ideas were expressed with the a response that likened the ideas to ridiculous and not worthy of discussion or debate. Now, many months later, the same ideas have shown up on an administrative report as an area of worthy concern.

This is often the way it is with good ideas and meaningful work. At first, no one wants to talk about it--they see it as "ridiculous," but after some thought, people then begin to embrace the ideas with strength--they see the worth.

Many years ago I heard of an idea like this at a national conference. I brought it back, and after some discussion, others embraced the idea and began to build upon it. That idea and its personalization found its way onto the administrative list too as an accomplishment.

Good ideas take on a life of their own. To truly maximize those ideas it is important to allow all stakeholders to stay abreast of and contribute to the idea's growth and development. Good ideas truly don't belong to any one of us and good ideas are at their best when they receive the investment, analysis, and development by all. Again, we do better, together.

I get discouraged because I am often chided for the new ideas I bring to the table. "We can't do that?" "Your ideas create tension." "You have too much to say and share." are the types of phrases I often here and am criticized for. Yet, then, later when I read reports of the year's good work those ideas I was originally chided for have found their way into the report in some shape or form.

Now I recognize that the ideas are not my ideas alone. It seems that when good ideas are voiced, they are typically taking on life with many educators and in many venues. We see this all the time on Twitter with similar ideas shared at same times. Yet, I think that those who decry and demean new ideas at the onset have to think twice about doing this, and instead of putting down new ideas and those that have them, instead work with idea-people to support and develop new ideas with the team.

Right now there are a number of new and old ideas, I plan to work on with my colleagues including the following:
  • Deeper Learning Child Study--This was born out of a talk by David Johns at the NBPTS Conference in DC a few years ago. The idea continues to be developed in the system where I work. 
  • Renewed Student Orientations - My team is working with this idea to develop our ability to support students and family members with regard to academic success beginning right away in the school year.
  • Mindset - The system I work in is building their ability to develop and apply positive mindsets and efforts with regard to all areas of study and learning. I look forward to applying some of the ideas the system is forwarding in this area--ideas related to SEL, home study, and more. 
  • Greater Cultural Proficiency - I will continue to work with my team to look for ways to develop our programs, teaching, and routines to become more culturally proficient. 
  • Math Teaching/Learning - STEAM Curriculum Efforts - there's more work to do to continue to grow and deepen these areas of teaching and learning. I've written quite a bit about this in the past months as I set goals for summer study.
It's too bad that some see ideas as having ownership or as currency when it comes to teaching/learning competition. I prefer to see ideas as rich resources that become richer and better when we share and develop those ideas with others. I'll work to forward that thinking and activity in the days ahead.