The Educator's PLN

The personal learning network for educators

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in a round table discussion with George Couros, the Division Principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning for Parkland School Division, at the Marin County Office of Education (@MCOEPD). George has been inspirational to me. He's challenged me to take risks in my own professional learning and provided gentle nudges to stick with the process. I was delighted to be able to meet him in person and talk about his ideas about how to grow a culture of innovation.

With his personable style and passion, George focused our attention on a key question for educational leaders: How do we move from pockets of innovation to a culture of innovation?  He provide much food for thought that is summarized very well by Eric Saibel, Assistant Principal at Sir Francis Drake High School, in his post, Stepping Beyond the Cage of the Unknown. George has also outlined these ideas in the Leading Innovative Change series on his blog, The Principal of Change.

While I came away from the discussion and presentation with my head spinning -- lots to think about -- I'd like to focus on a few of the key ideas that resonate with my work.

Like other districts, we are taking a close look at how we prepare our students for an uncertain future. An essential part of this process is inspiring and fostering adult learning to transform student learning. In the discussion, George emphasized the need for educational leaders to rethink our assumptions and approaches to adult learning. If we want our students to experience innovative learning, then we need to create the conditions that make it a reality for teachers. What are the seeds we need to sow to grow a culture of innovation?

As George emphasized creating conditions for powerful professional learning must begin with a strengths-based approach. Just as we cannot adopt a deficit model of thinking when working with students, it is also critical that we focus on the strengths that educators bring to their work and build upon them.

George also urged participants to think in terms of individual growth targets. Instead of focusing exclusively on moving the organization from point A to point B, we also need to consider how does each person move from his or her point A to point B. As Elena Aguilar points out in The Art of Coaching: "Meeting people where they are means exercising compassion, and it really is the only place to start when trying to make meaningful change" (Kindle location 1197). To cultivate a culture of innovation, we need to begin by supporting each person to move forward.

One of the ways we can do this is to work one to one, learning side by side. George talked about a superintendent with whom he's work as being "elbow deep in the learning." I love this image as it reminds me that we are all learners and that we have an obligation to support each other in learning and growing.

This part of the discussion reminded me of Atul Gawande's article, "Slow Ideas." In the article, Gawande asks "why do some innovations spread so swiftly and others so slowly?" In her blog post, Accelerating Slow Ideas, Kristen Swanson sums up Gawande's findings and applies them to educators: "Slow change speeds up when people learn from a trusted friend." What matters is the powerful combination of establishing relationships based on trust, meeting people where they are and helping them to adopt new practices.

What seeds do you sow to grow culture of innovation?

Views: 61

Comment

You need to be a member of The Educator's PLN to add comments!

Join The Educator's PLN

Comment by Oscar Marin on December 27, 2013 at 7:32pm

Rightly said Jennie. Cultivating a culture of innovation has to be emphasized upon. I really loved your experience that you have shared here. Thoughts become things is what I believe on and if we start to think in an innovative manner then we are bound to be productive in an innovative way. The part you discussed about slow and accelerated ideas was awesome. Infact we all need to do this.

About

Thomas Whitby created this Ning Network.

Latest Activity

Lenni D. Nedley updated their profile
11 hours ago
Lenni D. Nedley posted a discussion

Technology

Where does your school stand when it comes to technology availability for your students?See More
11 hours ago
Lenni D. Nedley posted a blog post

Citizen

As PDE grapples with the Keystone Civics and Government exam, today makes me wonder how many educators could pass the citizenship exam.  Hmmm!http://www.uscis.gov/us-citizenship/naturalization-testorhttp://citizenshipfirst.us/exam/See More
11 hours ago
David Chiles posted a status
"Happy Fourth of July with liberty and justice for all. www.NetworkEtiquette.net"
14 hours ago
David Chiles posted a status
"Google chrome is not safe. The browser is prone to hacks at #Starbucks. www.NetworkEtiquette.net"
yesterday
Matthew Esterman and Katherine Maloney are now friends
Friday
Kathryn Blades shared a profile on Facebook
Thursday
Oliver Raw posted a blog post

How to motivate students to write essays?

It is rather difficult to teach students, but to motivate them is even harder. At schools and even at colleges you have to contact with children who try to reject someone else's influence. And the fact is that this rejection is a logical result of misconception of the roles of both. It is possible to overcome the conflict of generations, and you can touch the children, and they can hear you. If you are so lucky to succeed and make student listen, then you can motivate them to any activity and…See More
Thursday

Awards And Nominations

© 2015   Created by Thomas Whitby.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service