Sunday, November 21, 2010

An appreciative vision -- Blogging for Real Educational Reform

Just imagine--

A nation in which stakeholders come to appreciate all the best that can be found in education today

And upon those stories, create a vision and design for public education that--

Adopts a strengths based paradigm for learners and educators--

Shies from competition and strives for collaboration--

Believes its teachers are caring, compassionate, and competent and possess the vitality and desire to create a better world for their students--

Encourages authentic collegial collaboration among educators during which they connect and collaborate as they seek a more accomplished global practice as autonomous, open, self directed learners--

Recognizes the potential of the diversity of this great nation and its role in enhancing our ability to imagine, to create, to innovate in distinct ways by allowing states and regions to develop and create lean standards that best enable the learning of their children--

Believes in the resilience, the capacity, the potential of all students to learn--

Respects and celebrates the developmental stages of all learners--

Prepares its students for the future with global competencies and new literacies that can help them meet the challenges of living in a participatory culture--

Creates spaces and conditions for learning for students in which they inquire, ask questions, seek answers, connect, collaborate and take collective action for issues about which they are passionate--

Encourages authentic assessments as learning--

Invites parents as partners into the learning process--

Invokes appreciative inquiry in the ongoing quest for autonomous, open, distributed, connected, authentic learning--

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Missy and learning

Samanthaphoto © 2009 Andrew Magill | more info (via: Wylio)Warm and sunny, so unlike NE Ohio for November--
Enjoying a walk in the wildlife preserve without even a jacket--

Nearing the parking lot to find--
A 8 week old black lab puppy with her new owners--
Who were encouraging, laughing, aprreciating her antics, and providing lots of freedom on her leash--

And Missy, in turn, was exploring, greeting new people with grand bounces and kisses, prancing in the grass, sniffing and then stretching out, rolling over, and then up and running to become acquainted with someone else.

Pure joy-- that was contagious--- and learning, soaking up everything--

Such a contrast to many ideas for teacher learning-- for improving learning in our classrooms--

So much today in education for our students and for our profession of

Fact, Fear, and Force

that foster

Flight, Fight and Resistance

What if instead we looked at

Relating, reframing, Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose

Wouldn't that foster

Motivation, Self efficacy, Trust, and a Passion for the Possible

What if we strived for
"positive relationships that broker encouragement, extend respect, cultivate trust, reframe failure, endorse competence, model excellence and challenge teachers (and our students) to be the best that they can be." (Tschannen-Moran & Tschannen-Moran, Evocative Coaching, p. 177)
Note: (and our students) is mine.

Imagine the possibilities--
Imagine the joy and learning--

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Afloat in the ebb and flow

Ebb, Flowphoto © 2006 Ally Norris | more info(via: Wylio)
First the tide rushes in
Plants a kiss on the shore
Then rolls out to sea
And the sea is very still once more.

One of my favorites--
The melody--
The lyrics in that first stanza--
So often on my commutes, I'd sing along with the Righteous brothers--

And never, until just this week
Realized that it held perhaps an answer
To my lifelong quest for what I thought was balance

And then this:
"It's an ebb and flow. Balance isn't found in finding a middle place. It's found in staying afloat in the ebb and flow."
I hope John Spencer will forgive me for taking his words out of context (his metaphor for finding balance in his classroom was eloquent) but they struck a chord with me in so many ways--

Staying afloat in the ebb and flow of the seasons

The fall season -- leaves down and brown and curled from many trees, maples still proudly strutting their colors to the end –golden pine needles, once green and thick on evergreens, down on driveways, paths, and the wood’s floor, yet others cling still to branches high –and with each wind gust, no matter how slight, leaves and pine needles drifting sometimes slowly, often swiftly to join the others on the earth.

Into winter, with the first snow-- wet with enormous flakes covering first the roof, the deck and finally the grass-- the branches of the butterfly bush weeping from the weight of the snow-- and then it's gone-- Until later in the season one flake after another after another create a wonderland, with tree branches laden and bending down-

And finally spring, and a rebirth with green growth poking up in all of the gardens, blooms of daffodils, grass growing, and long walks in the park with an ear to the many birds stopping by on their migrations to their summer homes--

Staying afloat in the ebb and flow of our lives made more complex with the challenge my love's life with MS

Walking, talking, walking more ,some more than 30 years ago. Planning our lives and living them to the fullest. Never thinking, perhaps like many, how the years would change us, how our bodies would grow old despite young and fun loving attitudes, how strong and deep a bond would grow from our happy times and challenges. Still planning together our future.

My soulmate -- fighting poison of cytoxan as it attempts to restore some balance to his system, to strengthen some neural pathways so we can walk again together in the park, to confuse his immune system, to halt or hinder the progression of MS -- his strong will and mind that rise and greet each day ready to deal with all challenges, to adapt to new refusals by his leg or foot to listen to his brain and move, to go beyond himself and always think of us. And for 2 weeks, those walks in the park on his walker and then not so much-- and yet always, never complaining going with the ebb and flow-- and with his courage, how can I not meet each day as he does.

Staying afloat in the ebb and flow of my passion for teaching and learning--

Always wonderfully amazed at my evolving beliefs about learning-- and how that changed how my classroom looked, and sounded and felt- Always cherishing the relationships with students-- Sadly, yet not, in leaving the classroom to work from home-- spending some years developing online PD for Ohio teachers, missing sorely the possibilities for collegial relationship. And yet stil learning in a MOOC and from colleagues who generously share in the global PLN I've been fortunate to develop-- Isolated no longer-- with opportunities for collaboration-- to continue in some small way make a difference--

To facilitate in growing online communities of practice-- afloat in the ebb and flow of the community, at times electric and then again slow, sitting on my hands enjoying the conversations, jumping in inquire, to wonder, to pull in, hoping to deepen thinking and learning-- to engage in conversations around moving to a more accomplished global practice-- and reflecting deeply.

My life--
Afloat in the ebb and flow--
The extraordinary, remarkable beauty of balance--