In the last year, I have had several “A-Ha” moments when reading different articles, or seeing videos on not only education, but just on human characteristics. This learning has really impacted my thinking on school and how we can best serve students. To me, it all started to come together when I saw this graphic from my friend, Royan Lee:
When I think about these “4 C’s”, I also believe there are two other essential ones that are needed in school; challenge and community. Here are some of the influence that have really helped shape my thinking, and hopefully the links I share can be a resource for others.
- Collaboration – Sugata Mitra, a “Professor of Educational Technology at the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University”, shared his unbelievable research on students having access to computers and the ability to teach themselves. What I found to be the most encouraging point in his Ted Talk, was when he discusses how the students benefited from working with each others, sharing one computer. Although many schools have 1-1 initiatives (which I can believe will be greatly successful when guided by a vision), it is essential that we continue to build opportunities for our students to learn together. Collaboration is a skill that we know is needed for our future, but we need to find better ways to promote this within our schools. (Also see Howard Rheingold’s video on Collaboration)
- Creativity – One of the most watched Ted Talks ever, Ken Robinson discusses how he believes current educational practices kill creativity. Ken Robinson’s work and his book, “The Element“, have helped to shape my thinking that learning should be built around individual passion, and not focused solely on the curriculum. (See: Identity Day)
- Communication – I am not sure if any video has shaped my thinking as an administrator as much as Simon Sinek’s video on “How Great Leader’s Inspire Action“. This is not only a video that is essential for leaders, but is also important for all that we do as people. Sinek focuses on how we should always start with “why” when we move forward, as this is essential to our ideas becoming successful. Simply, if we understand “why” we do what we do first, trust is built, which is the key to communication. Agendas are no longer hidden, and then we can move forward with the “how” and the “what” of our plans.
- Critical Thinking – Although many will say Dan Pink should not be credited as an educational resource, his research on people (which students are fortunately), helps to shape our thinking on what motivates students and the importance of this on creativity. His books, “A Whole New Mind” and “Drive” are definite must reads for educators (Alfie Kohn is however the best source on motivation in education), while this Ted Talk is definitely worth watching. Although Dan Pink talks more on motivation, than he does critical thinking, it is definitely applicable as some of the motivational ways we have taught (rewards, stickers, charts) are not conducive to deeper learning.
- Challenge – I really enjoyed reading about “Flow” theory and believe that students that are challenged to the point where learning is difficult, but not attainable are more engaged in their learning. Mihály Csíkszentmihályi gives a fascinating Ted Talk on his theory that will have you wondering how best you can differentiate learning for your students so that they can achieve “flow”. (This could definitely fall under the category of creativity as well.)
- Community (This could also be filed under another ‘C’; Caring) – I have always believed in the importance of community and that we all take care of each other. Schools are more likely to ensure our learners are successful when we work together to benefit them. When I think of who I have learned from the most, I can not think of anyone better than those that I have connected with in my time in schools. I have an unbelievable staff, fantastic parent community, an amazing central office and school division, as well as a caring personal learning network of educators and administrators who are committed to going the extra mile to improve our school environments for our students. Without a caring community, the other points in this post would be moot. (I also believe that all communities need to give everyone opportunities to become leaders. A great book that will get you thinking is Stephen Covey’s, “The Leader in Me“)
Hopefully I have not only shown you what has shaped my thinking, but have provided some resources that are beneficial to the growth of you as an educator. What are your big ideas for education? What has shaped your thinking? I would love to see what you have to share.
(Below are some other resources that I would also highly recommend)
Videos that really made me think:
- Chris Lehmann at the 140 Character Conference (Hold on to your seats for this one!)
- Dalton Sherman on believing in students.
Here are some blogs that will really get you thinking and challenged your thoughts about education (there are so many that I could add to this list but I will start with these):
- Weblogg-ed – Will Richardson
- Ideas and Thoughts from an EdTech– Dean Shareski
- Dangerously Irrelevant – Scott McLeod
- Re-Educate – Steve Miranda
- Dreams of Education – Kelly Tenkely
- Teacher Reboot Camp – Shelly Terrell
- Connected Principals
My Google Reader bundles: