Leading or Holding Back?

I heard an interview with author Jay Cross who wrote Informal Learning: Rediscovering the Natural Pathways That Inspire Innovation and Performance. One comment that stuck with me more than anything else; as he was talking about how most learning comes to us informally on the job and through experience…he said something about Google…and recognizing that some employees are worth 200 times more than the average employee in what they were able to accomplish. He talked about how they are the ones that should be invested in.

The type of person he was referring to shows up in the desks of our schools and classrooms. How do we as educators deal with kids like that? It seems to depend on each adult’s comfort level. And then if they survive to adulthood with those tendencies still intact, how does the workplace deal with that? Again, it depends on comfort level. How does a culture like the one he talks about, one that values high levels of creativity and enthusiasm….how does that exist and sustain itself? What does that take? And inversely, why are there some environments that actually do everything they can to squelch those exact same qualities? What does that take?

By exploring our own comfort level and allowing our boundaries to soften and widen to include those things in people that make us feel a little out of control, a little uncomfortable…allowing room for those that may not fit our norms….and possibly take up more space than the average student… that choice will not only encourage that kind of ability in a student, but it also increases that in ourselves .

You Can Only Grow as Big as Your Container

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Our ability to think and work creatively is heavily influenced by our workplace….the size of the container. District size doesn’t matter. What matters is group norms and culture. We can’t always control that in our work environments, but we can expand our container by connecting with expansive thinkers.

Intentionally choosing expansive thinkers as thought partners has been the defining element in my professional life. One way I’ve expanded my container is through work with a global team of educators. We only know what we know, and if we limit ourselves to our own district, we are often just reaffirming what we already think. Our global team was asked to keynote at the recent Global Education Conference.

How big is your container? Mine is as big as the world.

Find the recording for all of the Global Education Conference 2014 here.
 

Global Education Conference 2014!

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The fifth annual Global Education Conference is a free week-long online event bringing together educators and innovators from around the world. This event will be held on Monday, November 17 through Friday, November 21, 2014. 

The 2014 Conference hashtag is #globaled14. Tagboard is a great way to keep track of all the posts using this hashtag: https://tagboard.com/globaled14/194756     Also check out http://twubs.com/globaled14!

 

Every Classroom Matters

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My Interview on BAM!radio for Every Classroom Matters with Vicki Davis, the CoolCatTeacher.

Dr. Ed Gragert, Craig Perrier and I will be talking about the Lesson For All at the online Global Education Conference on November 18th. Please join us to learn more. You can listen to the short interview on the link below.

Global Competence: Changing How Students Think About and Value Education.

 

The City that Plays Together, Stays Together!

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What do you get when you mix 108 amazing Chicago organizations, 4,204 engaging learning opportunities, passionate leaders, higher education institutions, generous funding organizations, and 400,000 youth of Chicago? The Chicago City of Learning! (CCOL) An explosive convergence of possibility all focused on supporting youth in developing self-directed, interest-driven learning and achievement… that connects that learning to college and career….complete with a rigorous badging system. 

Want to be part of something bigger?

You can feel the electricity  in the room during the planning meetings with the vast array of stakeholders involved in bringing CCOL to the youth of Chicago as a network of support that provides 24/7 access to quality learning. This is personalized learning that covers the entire city…every neighborhood, every street, every learner.  And the city is rising up to support the entire effort.

Check it out. If you don’t live near Chicago, maybe your city could use the template to create something in your area.

Is This Your Year?

‘To have empowered students, we need empowered teachers. To have empowered teachers, we need empowered systems.’

October is Connected Educators Month. Are you ready?

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Kids from 17 Countries Send a Message

As educators, we have an amazing ability to connect our kids globally and allow them to see each other, not as strangers to be afraid of, but as other kids much like themselves…with families, video games, favorite books, and hope and dreams. We are one. In these three words lie the stability of our world. Educators hold that power to connect unlike any politician, peace-keeper, corporation or humanitarian organization.

Our Global Friendships. From the USA, Taiwan, Ireland, Canada, Singapore, and Malaysia….as a small group of educators from around the world, we meet monthly on Skype to create a better way to educate our students…and it has evolved into a model for other teachers. We create and plan together, and then we connect our students through our own curriculum. The kids collaborate and learn with their peers around the world.

And what comes of all of that? Well, for us, students who understand the global world we live in, and who understand our fragile interrelatedness. Young people ready to lead our world in volitive and complex times. 

“We are one. We’re how we treat each other and nothing more.”