It has been a wild and bumpy ride during the pandemic, but through it all, we have witnessed firsthand the resilience of educators across the world. While COVID-19 represented the most disruptive force ever to impact the field of education, educators did what they always do – go above and beyond for kids and each other. They have and continue to make lemonade out of a never-ending supply of lemons. Challenges were once viewed as obstacles. Now they are seen as opportunities to innovate.
A golden age of transformation is upon us and the time to act is now. By leveraging the lessons learned during the pandemic as well as from recent disruptors such as Amazon, Netflix, Uber, DoorDash, and Airbnb, educators can plan and work to future-proof learning for all kids. To do so, the right mindset and strategies are needed to create classroom cultures where learners are empowered to replace conventional ideas with innovative solutions to authentic solutions. This is the essence of preparation for now and the unknown, something that is woven throughout Disruptive Thinking in Our Classrooms. As I have said for years and emphasized in the book, “Don’t prepare learners for something. Prepare them for anything!”
When it comes to change, there is always a dominant focus on the why. At this point, I think every teacher and administrator has some context, especially in light of the pandemic, as to the need to rethink practice. Many people get hung up on how to effectively implement innovative strategies that lead to new and improved results aligned to research and based on actual evidence. Herein lies the driving force that compelled me to write the book.
Below are some of the ways the book can help you make disruptive thinking a reality in your classroom, school, district, or organization.
Broken into four parts, this book combines stories, insight from thousands of school visits, practical strategies, research, lessons from the pandemic, and examples from classrooms to assist educators in transforming their practice. The parts are:
- Rethinking “normal”
- Rethinking learning
- Rethinking the learner
- Rethinking our mindset
Each chapter ends with a “disruptive challenge” designed to do just that: challenge educators to disrupt in some way their current thinking or professional practices.
Over time things change. Knowing this compelled me to reflect on how to create a relevant resource that would evolve over time. I have been blogging since the book was published to align updated content, ideas, and strategies to each chapter to deliver on this goal. I have also developed new graphics to support educators as they work to help their learners become disruptive thinkers. To this end, a Pinterest board materialized that is updated regularly. As I learn and reflect through my work in schools, my goal is to keep this link fresh with innovative content.
I can’t speak highly enough about ConnectEDD as they have been a true partner as a publisher. Not only do they support their authors, but they are building a vibrant community. To that end, a comprehensive study guide can be found on their site. If you are looking to grow individually or collectively as part of a book study, be sure to have this resource on hand. Impressive bulk discounts are also available. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trying to develop a short, catchy hashtag (#) that no one else is using extensively is a challenge these days. In the end, we came up with #DisruptiveThink. The overall purpose is for educators to share their questions, reflections, and innovative practices they have implemented on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. It also represents a convenient way for me to interact with readers at any time, even if my social media handle isn’t included.
Disruption represents a continuous call to action as forces that radically change society will always be in play. We have the ultimate antidote: employing a mindset and strategies that equip learners with needed competencies and the ability always to be prepared. The solution is disruptive thinking.