15 Comments

  1. Great advice, George. For all of us. Reflecting is not easy to do. Writing is even harder. "Continuous" is the key word, and "continuous" happens not without little steps, and patience.

  2. Lesley Cameron

    Thanks for yet another great post, George. I appreciated reading your comment on Jabiz's blog post. I completely agree with you and Tom, that reflecting is not easy. I feel like I'm "getting there" in my blog posts, but still have a long way to go. I don't consider myself a writer and don't find it easy to share ideas or thoughts. I often feel like I "have nothing to say" and have found my blogging journey to be difficult at times. Thank you for your continued support and encouragement. Learning is continuous, for our students and us, as educators. I need to remind myself of this often.

    • Intrepid

      Thanks for a very honest and vulnerable comment. Just curious though, I am sure you have many students who, don't consider themselves writers and don't find it easy to share ideas or thoughts. They often feel like they "have nothing to say" so how do you convince them that writing and sharing has value?

      Furthermore, the beauty of the blog is that it allows for a variety of ways to share what you have to "say." Video reflections, photography, animations, you name it. Text is only one way of writing.

      • georgecouros

        You just answered your own question! I believe that there are many ways that we can communicate now and with technology at our fingerprints, it is very easy to archive and share.

        • Intrepid

          Oh, I knew the answer. Just wanted Lesley to consider the value of writing and why/how she teaches it. In order to help are kids become more comfortable expressing themselves through any form of media/text we must become conformable first ourselves.

      • Lesley Cameron

        Hey Jabiz! Thanks for your reply. You're right, I often see similarities between myself and a shy writer. I believe in giving more than one choice in expressing oneself and demonstrating understanding. This is the beauty of variety in assessments, projects, etc. I also believe it's important for my students to know that I'm learning right along with them with writing forms, new technologies, projects, etc. Learning is continuous and is everywhere!

        Encouragement, feedback, and reflection are important, no matter what the medium. That's why I am enjoying social media and connecting with others around the world. Thanks for your comment and making me think deeply about things!

  3. azjd

    I love how you caution against "thinking of learning in yearly segments." We want to see growth/progress – day to day, week to week, month to month and year to year…it shouldn't stop at dismissal. Just as we would with our students, we do have to be patient as teachers/staff members embrace technology and its uses. Provide a little push and a lot of support. Great post George!

  4. Brian Kuhn

    I have been working with and supporting a small group of Principals for a few years on their desire to leverage technology as Principals but also to help and support their teachers inclusion of technology in their work with kids. You are quite right that someone's difficulty with reflecting through blogging or commenting may just be a challenge in reflecting or writing their thoughts out. Some people are just not used to doing that. Or, they may be fearful of writing "out in the open". In any case, patience and pace is important and differs for each individual. I love the "continuous learners" approach – really it's all about helping a learner to move from "here" to "there".

  5. Intrepid

    Thanks for your comment and subsequent post George. I agree with you that it needs to be a continuous and sometimes slow and deliberate process, but part of me also wants to push a bit harder. We so often push our students and encourage risk taking and moving out of comfort zones, but when it comes to staff development let them take years.

    It is awkward and uncomfortable to write and share and reflect and connect, but if we tell out students that these sills are important than we should hold out staff accountable as well. You cannot tell students to write, collaborative, and reflect, then allow teachers to do nothing.

    Sure it is slow, but have the conversations, make it a vision, and begin to move teachers forward. Once given the platform, the opportunity and most importantly time, I am sure teachers will begin to "get it." At least I hope so.

    • georgecouros

      They will Jabiz. It is those little victories that push people to the next level. Instead of having that "GIANT" vision (which is great to have), why not put it down into smaller chunks to give people the notion that they are making progress instead of continuously swimming upstream? I read that in "Good Boss, Bad Boss" and I need to start thinking about those "little chunks" and how I can help our staff achieve those little goals on our way to the big ones.

  6. Kirk Linton

    Hi George,

    Thanks for the reminder. Change is slow and adults need time to see what the benefits are to jumping into the deep end with both feet. I have been trying to do some modelling with my own blog, but that's not always enough. You need to create a platform for people to succeed in new territory. Thanks for reminding me that adults sometimes need scaffolding too.

  7. Part 1

    "The fact is, that many of us expect that educators just JUMP in and do some deep reflective thinking on a blog space, when they may have never even done that in any writing space (online or offline). It is not that these teachers are not reflective, they just may not write down their thoughts."

    I think that's been my biggest struggle jumping into the world of networked learning (okay, dipping a toe or two before jumping right in), I thought my 'school world' and 'real-life' acquaintances would be ready for blogging (to at least read and maybe even join the conversation by responding), but instead, I've been supported most in this world by a former mentor of mine who moved away many years ago (@adriander) and a great reflective thinker I've never even met (@shannoninottawa). Thanks for the reminder that we all come to things in our own time and in our own way, but I have to admit that that being out here on my own is definitely scary sometimes :-)

  8. Part 2

    “There are three elements of being a strong leader. You have to know when to stand in front to share and role model the vision, you need to stand beside and work together towards the vision, and you need to stand behind to encourage them to move on their own"

    Sounds an awful lot like Nelson Mandela's Lessons of Leadership (2 of which are 'lead from the front, but don't leave your base behind' and 'lead from the back – and let others believe they are in front')

    I was intrigued by your comment "The way we can develop and nurture our thoughts through writing has been one of the best unintended benefits I have had through my experience blogging."

    That's probably the biggest reason I actually started blogging, to clarify my vision, my beliefs, and my values surrounding learning and supporting a community of learners. If that was an unintended benefit for you, might I be so bold as to ask what originally drew you to blogging?

  9. mnantais

    "As educators, we need to stop thinking of learning in yearly segments. Learning is continuous, along with the process of change and growth."

    Nicely stated, George. This is another post full of wisdom. It is no wonder my students were so impressed when you skyped in!

  10. shinet

    I'm mostly with you Jen re the value of blogging as a way to clarify vision, beliefs and values. I add that you can also explore and re-form vision, beliefs and values during the process, as these things are in a state of ongoing development; in keeping with George's theme of continual learning. The writing process is fundamental for reflection. The act of writing impacts on the thinking process by forcing us to slow down the inner chatter, to commit our ideas to the page and it offers a future record of otherwise forgotten thoughts and ideas. Reflective dialogue can be just with yourself. I like to keep my own private journal as well.

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