Friday, August 24, 2012

Well, Duh!

I surely do have my moments--
Sometimes I am so dense--
And then what I missed jumps up and slaps me in the face-- hard--
It is for those slaps that I am extremely grateful--

The most recent--  thanks to the very wise, very accomplished women educators in the recently finished section of the Connected Coaching eCourse.

As they reflected collaboratively on our 11 weeks together and I listened in our final webinar, it became crystal clear--

I have repeatedly attributed the depth of learning and the collegial relationships evidenced in each section of the eCourse to the very intentional building of trust and relationships that we focus on early in the course.  I wrote about that here and here. Now that I've listened so closely, I realize I developed a lazer focus, neglecting to highlight critical elements that also contribute to what have been extraordinary personal outcomes for all of us who have co constructed knowledge together. Don't get me wrong, there is no way the importance of trust and relationships can be understated. No. Way.

It is that, coupled with process that creates an environment for learning that leads to each member leaving the course with a bittersweet feeling. Bittersweet-- It was like climbing a mountain. Bummed that it is over. I struggled. I am a changed person. It was hard, rigorous. We need to maintain these connections.

I am convinced an appreciative, strength based inquiry approach to learning, one in which co learners are self directed, self governing, leads to the deepest learning and self realization. The approach enables each co learner to explore that which they wonder. It requires deep thinking in that the inquiry is facilitated through questions, those of the lead learner and that of all co learners. The approach creates a "no fail", safe environment for learning in which each learner feels valued.

Add to that the element of a personal learning contract described as challenging, empowering, difficult, freeing, respecting the learner. Woven together, the contract, the appreciative strength based inquiry process and the intentional growing of relationships and trust create a rich tapestry that embraces, immerses, and supports collaborative personal learning that enables the best of knowing and doing.

Well, duh! Of course-- Now that I've heard it from them, it seems pretty obvious to me.  

Wendy, Heidi, Amy, Dawn, Judi, Janne, Pati and Lindy-- thank you! Thank you highlighting what I should have realized so much earlier. And thank you for giving so much of yourselves during our 11 weeks together.

And now I'm wondering what else am I missing? 

Photo Credit

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Reaching out to others

A pre-service educator excitedly posting in the Connected Educator Book club and others celebrating her posts and offering support

Passioned comments in the backchannel chat of a webinar session around the need to burn bridges and start a revolution

A Honduran educator reaching out to those in webinar not as competent as he, answering "how to" questions

Seasoned and novice educators in a forum lamenting those who they view as unconnected

An Israeli teacher sharing a story of her course which brings adversary cultures (Israeli and Arab) to collaborate and learn more about each other as they learn in online spaces

It's Connected Educator month--
All of August--
With grand opportunities to share, to collaborate, to reach out to others in webinars and forums--
The #CE12 hashtag on Twitter flows like a swift river, rich with resources and suggestions--
There is a 31 day starter kit for those wanting to learn more about being connected--

Those in webinars, in forums, on Twitter share a common passion for immersion in connected learning. It's an exciting time to be a connected educator-- the potential for making new connections and learning abounds.

And yet I'm wondering, have we reached in effective ways to those currently not connected? Have you?

Those not connected don't see the #CE12 twitter stream. Those not connected don't know of the blog posts. Those unconnected likely won't be in the discussion forums, or the book club, or the webinars.

What if every connected educator made a special effort to reach out to a colleague that's unconnected?

If school hasn't yet begun, what if they invited a grade level team member, a fellow faculty member over for coffee to participate in a webinar together. If school has started, what if they invited those unconnected colleagues to read some of the forum responses with them on topics for which they have an interest? What if they shared with their grade level teams something they learned in the book club or a forum, inviting the team to explore that together? What if they sat with their administrator, for a moment, exploring a professional learning forum together?

If each one reaches out to one, imagine the possibilities-- for all of our professional learning and that of our students.

Image: 'take my hand'