It’s been a few months folks and I’m thrilled to put the pen to paper to write a new Daytime post as we barrel down on beginning of spring…more importantly, SPRING BREAK. My lack of posts is due to the fact that I’ve been working on a deeper, more reflective, and rather personal blog that I’m hoping to share within the next few weeks. At any rate, this blog is dedicated to my experience at last week’s NAIS annual conference in Philadelphia.
I was able to attend a variety of workshops with topics including leadership, classroom experience, and innovation in education. The majority were in some way, shape, or form, focused on a few common ideas…growth mindset, leadership, risk taking, the power of networks, and failure value.
On Wednesday I attended REV Talks (Revolutionary Education Videos): Stories Worth Sharing, hoping to find inspiration for creative ideas to bring back to SCH Academy. The first presenter, Grant Litchman reflected on his recent EdJourney across the United States. His thoughts on breaking silos of subject and space were of particular importance to me, as collaboration and connectivism are what I view as keys to an undivided culture. A group discussion prompted what I considered to be the most important theme of my two day experience…a growth mindset. One of the attendees mentioned how their school followed a model where teachers would present at faculty meetings on topics that were unfamiliar to them. While this could certainly be disruptive to the traditional flow of afternoon meetings, it certainly promotes a constant growth mindset. I highly recommend following Grant’s journey on The Learning Pond.
Next to present was Jamie Baker from The Martin Institute for Teaching Excellence. Jamie framed her presentation by offering several questions that we ought to be asking of ourselves and our schools… Are we teaching every boy and every girl? How are we disrupting ourselves? Do we value failure enough? And of course…Do we have a growth mindset? You may or may not know that I’m a huge hockey fan, so Jamie referencing a famous Wayne Gretzy quote made my day; A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be. A fantastic analogy for how we should be thinking in our schools….not to key in on where we are at this moment, but where we need to be, and how to arrive there.
Don Buckley from The School at Columbia University spoke about how design thinking helps to foster a culture of innovation. Considering the design thinking work taking place at SCH, it was fascinating to see this type of work in another educational setting. Take a look at this video where Don discusses the process by which the faculty and administration sought to rethink and redesign how they integrated homework, grading, recess, lunch, and discipline.
The final speaker of the afternoon was Jason Ramsden, the CTO at Ravenscroft in North Carolina. Jason captured the audience with a discussion on leadership and change. He began by removing each of us from our comfort zones by pairing us with an unfamiliar person to discuss what we fear most about change. Admittedly, an awkward situation…nevertheless a powerful one to demonstrate how change induces fear and difficulty on many levels. The exercise was good to reinforce that while change is often challenging, it’s necessary if you want to stay relevant.
Daytime is back from hiatus folks! Also, I would like to take the time to thank all of the teachers at SCH…I never realized just how hard the end of February and beginning of March is for you all. So cheers, and hang tight…spring break is almost here!