Just Say Yes
This is my #IMMOOC response to Chapters 4 and 5 in Part 2 of The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros.
This past Thursday (our last day of the school week here in the Middle East) was a half-day for students so that we could have a half-day of PD time with our faculty and staff. The focus of our work was to deepen our understanding of the ASD Learning Principles.
This year we are focusing school wide on principles 3, 6 and 7. Here’s what the principles say:
- 3. Learning is enhanced when goals are clear and personalized.
- 6. Learners thrive in a safe environment.
- 7. Effective feedback, reflection and self-assessment are essential to deepen and extend learning.
We began the PD with an all-faculty session with faculty from K to Grade 12, and then we broke out to divisions. In the elementary school, faculty were divided into groups to work on identifying what we already do as it relates to each of the principles, how we might take what we do to the next level, and then come up with a plan for what the principles would look like, sound like and feel like in their classrooms. As an exit ticket, we asked teachers to write their next steps on sentence strips. The strips were sticky-tacked around a sun labeled, “Where I Want to Shine.” (Yes, it’s a bit corny. But it fits with our ES goal for the year, which is to shine as a joyful elementary school!)
I noticed that several teachers had written about being safe and taking risks. For example, they wrote:
- Make it safe for all learning styles.
- Risk choice feel safe
- Confidence making mistakes
- Celebrate mistakes!
How does this relate to the book chapters for this week? As I was reading Chapter 4, I made a connection between what teachers had written on their sentence strips with what I was reading. It occurred to me that while the teachers were describing want they want for their students, isn’t this exactly what I want as a principal for the teachers in my school?
I want to be a leader who encourages – rather than discourages – innovation. That means that the culture of our school has to be safe for students and teachers (and administrators!) to take risks and make mistakes as part of our learning. In short, I want to create a culture of saying yes. As George writes in Chapter 4:
If we’ve established a culture in which educators feel their only option is to ask forgiveness for trying new things, this is not an educator issue, it’s a leadership issue. … That doesn’t mean we should blindly say yes to everything, but it’s important to remember that saying yes allows us to find ways to make innovation happen.
October 23, 2017
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September 30, 2017