Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Opportunities-- Possibilities--

As the rhythm of the Illinois/Ohio PLP cohort ebbs and flows-- There is growth-- There is pull back—There is learning-- There is resistance--

More than exciting-- Members have begun to develop personal learning networks-- Teams are grappling thoughtfully and carefully with the design of a project— Both essential components of the visionary PLP model.

And yet I worry--- that members of this cohort may inadvertently allow a glorious opportunity to whoosh right on by— the possibility to develop and improve a global practice—a grand endeavor that is greater than each of us— that can lead to the systemic change that we espouse— That opportunity--the real work of building a community of practice.

Considering here a developmental continuum? I’m wondering if networks can be fairly characterized by “I” and “my”. Don’t we talk about “my PLN”? Can the next stage be a move to a less egocentric “we” and “our” in which we come to the realization that it is in collaboration, not competition; in transparency, not secrecy; in openness, not confined by boundaries of classrooms, schools or districts that we can help to develop and refine a global practice that transcends all perceived barriers and benefits all children? If that is so, that is an incredible leap from current practice— where isolation, individualism, and secrecy abound. But isn’t that one leap that can lead to that systemic change we want to be? Hasn’t Sheryl captured it? “Networks are the gateway to community and community results in systemic change.”

I want to raise my voice-- no I want to scream-- don’t let the opportunity pass us by-- with the passion for learning and diverse talents within this cohort, if we take this leap together, what possibilities abound for the greater good, bigger and better than any of us. We can’t allow fear to hold us back. Angela Stockman suggested in a comment to Sheryl's recent post:
“Many of us are afraid of the unknown, afraid we aren't adequately prepared, afraid we won't be respected or supported...afraid that if we do change, our expertise will no longer be valued...WE will no longer be valued. Furthermore, we're afraid to be imperfect and to embrace the "messiness" of it all, because quite honestly, we are held to perfect standards by administrators and other leaders who expect too much too soon and exact consequences when perfect doesn't happen within the space of five minutes.”
We need to look these fears in the face, and know that within this cohort, in our private space they are ungrounded. We need to grab each others’ hands, envelop in warm bear hugs those who need the additional support, and together take that leap into “we” and community, and growing for a higher purpose— We need to truly see ourselves as co learners in the quest of a practice so accomplished that every one of our children flourish--

But I can’t-- I need to let them travel this path---

But that doesn’t mean I won’t be there every step of the way --learning, celebrating growth, nudging, pushing back, and sitting on my hands, and waiting--for I wouldn’t miss these possibilities for the world—

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