Asset-Based Experiences

Finally, we spend a lot of time starting with deficits in schools. We shoot ideas down because we can think of reasons why something won't work. We focus on learning deficits in classrooms and on state assessments. We talk a lot about what we aren't seeing. Our kids need to know how to read and think critically. I'm not arguing that. However, no one is inspired by a relentless focus on their deficits. I learned from my good friend, Dr. Tim Kubik, it can be more powerful to focus instead on what assets we do indeed have. The strengths and skills and special talents that students and teachers bring into schools every day are endless. If we were to spend more energy amplifying the good instead of diagnosing the not so good, I think the energy in our schools would change.

Reflections on an Emerging Student-Centered Learning Ecosystem: Inquiry and Ideas (Part II)

As the fellowship took shape, each teacher brought assets of their own that they knew could work, but also a willingness to learn that came from not seeing their approach as “the” answer. In the words of improv comedy, they came with bricks rather than a cathedral.  This kind of openness to inclusion would be key to ideation and innovation. The smartest person in the room may be the room, but only when everyone who should be is in the room.

Humans First

Let's listen. Let's build alongside educators and students. We cannot expect people to feel ownership and engagement in something that they were not a part of building. Imagine what we can do if we build together.

A Little Love

Perhaps we should start by loving ourselves as educators. As Mr. Roger once said, "You can't love someone else until you love yourself first." Through all of the hard stuff. The mistakes. The days when we just aren't feeling it.

Less Thinking. More Doing.

I wonder if this is what we are missing in some of our "data" meetings in schools. Do we have pictures of kids at the table? To start, they are our WHY. They are why we want to be better. That's a big part of our identity as educators. But also, setting goals for improvements is nice, but it's not the work. The work is the small moves made over time that can make a big difference. Too many data meetings sound like, "We need to get these scores up." Well, yeah. We know. But how? And because we don't know what the best strategy or step to take is, we may not take a step.

We Can Do Hard Things

We are at a crossroads. We can survive this year, and go back to school as it always was, or we can start planning now for what's possible in the future. We've already proven that we can do hard things. Imagine what we can accomplish with future-oriented intentionality.

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