It seems that very often a well meaning, well read, and hard working group of school, district or provincial leaders become embroiled in the “Decide-Advocate-Defend” (D-A-D) cycle that Frank Barrett and Ron Fry describe. These small groups of people, who have already completed their learning journeys, feel the need to defend their decision to those who have not. Their rationale for educational change, which has historically been based predominantly on issues such as completion rates, low exam scores and poor student behaviour, tends to put many key stakeholders into a defensive stance of their own. This deficit discourse and the D-A-D cycle leads to stories like ‘what’s wrong with the leadership?’ or ‘it’s just another power play’. These stories become strong memories that cause negative associations with any future change programs, strategic planning efforts, or visioning processes.
The change process should not be a “forced march”, but a disciplined choreography of conversation, reflection, analysis and imagination among various parties.
This summer I heard Chris Kennedy describe blogging as a way to keep these kinds of conversations going. He also suggested that using Twitter was a wonderful way to “amplify” comments, opinions and ideas.
Hearing Chris’ message loudly and clearly, both Dave Sloan (SD #60 Assistant Superintendent) and Stephen Petrucci (SD #60 Director of Instruction) have taken on the blogging and amplification challenge. Both have created blogs that are pertinent to educational issues at the local, provincial and global levels.
Dave has shared opinions and research on topics such as the importance of sleep for learners, promoting positive mental health in schools, movies in the classroom, resiliency and, my favourite, “living and learning in interesting times”. His blog can be found at http://educationmatters2.blogspot.com/ and you can follow him on Twitter: @DaveLSloan.
Stephen’s blog has been focusing on the concept of UDL (Universal Design for Learning). In fact, in order to model UDL, he has been providing an audio tab for those who would rather listen. His blog also includes links to LiveBinders that he has created… it can be found at http://petruccidoi.blogspot.com/ Follow him on Twitter too: @s1petrucci.
I believe that blogs like these will help us to avoid the “DAD” cycle that I mentioned earlier. By taking the time to read them, students, parents and staff will have a sense of the conversations that are taking place in the district and around the province. By taking the time to comment, they can actually take part in the conversations.
The only problem with Dave and Stephen’s blogs is that they make mine look bad.
By the way… I applaud the B.C. Ministry of Education for creating the “engage” tab on their B.C. Education plan website. Please take part in the conversation.