Sunday, July 17, 2016

Critical Conversations

We are in the midst of disruptive change that is engulfing our society. The second we get a grasp on a new technology there is an update, new version, or something entirely different. It is an exciting, yet terrifying time as many of us just try to keep up. This is the new normal in our world and advancements in virtually every field and profession will continue at an exponential rate. As educators you don’t need to like technology, but you do have to accept it. The reality is that not just technology, but an array of innovative ideas, are constantly at our fingertips. 

The disruptive changes we are seeing provide an opportunity to reflect on what we are in order to help better determine where we want to be. Taking all of this into account, how well are you meeting the needs of today’s learner? I ask this question in virtually every workshop I facilitate.  The responses run the spectrum from not very well to some pretty innovative ways.  Overall many schools, administrators, and teachers are quite content with where they are currently at in regards to meeting the needs of learners in the digital age.  Make no mistake about it, real change is happening in many schools, mostly in the form of isolated pockets of excellence.  

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The question above provides a great initial point of reflection as to where you are at with your change and transformation efforts. However, it falls short in terms of determining how well we are really doing as we are jaded by our own perception at times. Even though we might think we are doing a great job this might not be the reality of the ones we serve. The real question to drive meaningful change in our schools is asking our students how well we are meeting their needs. It is important to at first listen and then begin to take action on some of the thoughts and ideas they provide. They are, after all, our number one stakeholder and true boss.

If you want real change engage your learners in critical conversations about your school, district, or classroom experience. Even if you are integrating all of the latest technology, chances are teaching, learning, and leadership have not changed to allow for a transformation of school culture. Continue these conversations with your students throughout the school year by making it an embedded component of your professional practice. It will be difficult at first to hear from your students some of the issues that they have with the learning culture at your school. Over time though the relationships that are built through this honest dialogue will help drive the right changes that are needed.

For more tips on how to engage others in critical conversations click HERE.

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