For the most part I am a very reflective person. I spend large amounts of time analyzing who I am, what I believe and where I’m going next. This reflection offers me a mix of sobering truths and opportunities for change. On a personal level, reflection has cause me to change my habits to improve my health, it has offered me the opportunity to become a better parent and has influenced my ever changing beliefs about education and the role I want to play.
On Friday, I had the opportunity to listen to Michael Reist speak. His talk was engaging, it rang true and has caused me quite a few reflections on my beliefs again. Michael explores the importance of changing the institution of school to reflect the needs of our learners. He explores the history of education and the technological advancements that have changed the way we educate from the beginning of time. From the creation of printed language, the introduction of printing presses, television, the internet and now handheld technology, we cannot deny that our institution needs to change. We are no longer the gatekeepers of the information, our students can learn anything they want, whenever they want. How are we going to help them become better learners as they navigate the world we have not yet envisioned?
Now that I’ve had a chance to read his book, The Dysfunctional School, there is one thing he mentions a few times that rings true for me; this change needs to happen from the inside out.
Personally, the change in my lifestyle had to happen in small steps, all that started with my personal decision to change who I was. Once I had adapted my lifestyle to reflect healthier eating habits, physical activity and self reflection, others around me noticed and began to adopt these healthier habits too. The support we then found in each other made it easier to continue on the path of change. Becoming connected help to support my change and influenced others on a similar path.
Living this change on a personal level, leads me to believe it has potential to work in education. Encouraging change, offering support and reflecting often on what exactly it is we are trying to achieve is important in order to inspire and influence large spread change. This tweet I received after a sharing session last week made me realize the importance of being connected and working together.
I’m thankful to be surrounded with like minded people and look forward to the many others out there who are looking to do the same. The education system is massive, top down and bottom up change may take a while. Connecting with other educators, reserving judgement on their current practice, encouraging their attempts at changing their mindset will help us on this path to influencing change at a rate much faster than our other two options.
Where are you on the spectrum of change? Do you believe the system works as it is? Have you set out on your own path to change your practice? Do you believe in the need for change but need help putting it into action?
Wherever you are, know that together we can make this happen. Imagine the exponential growth of educational change if each of us helps and supports just one or two other people on this path. Thinking about the change I see happening in classrooms all over the world right now, I can’t wait to see where we are in a few short years. The change is happening, one educator, one classroom, one hallway, one school at a time. Michael has it right, change is most powerful when it happens from the inside out!