1. Hey Pal,

    I LOVE your questions and would love to see them driving conversations in our schools.

    Sadly, the questions I'm forced to ask from my position as a classroom teacher are:

    (1). Will this produce results on the standardized test?
    (2). Can I count on my school leaders to back me even if it doesn't?
    (3). How does this align with the scripted curriculum pacing guide I'm supposed to follow?
    (4). Is there ANY way to get the resources that I'll need to teach this lesson differently?
    (5). Should I spend any time learning to master new strategies that new directives are likely to force me to abandon next year.

    Pessimistic, huh?

    But all too real—-and all the more reason that progressive leaders need to keep driving conversations about how their leadership styles either support or discourage innovation in their schools.

    Rock right on,

  2. Great focussing questions, George. When new ideas emerge, I'm also always thinking "Who are my go-to people for this initiative?" Who are the people in our community who will help me sift through those questions, honestly and with passion? If I can't think of any key people quickly, thenI immediately start planning the discussions that first need to occur.

  3. jvincentsen

    Great questions, George, to be in the forefront of our minds as we lead schools for change. #1 and #3 on your list are always in the forefront for me as are:
    *If this is the way we have always been doing things, what is the rationale?
    *What are the value added components?
    ~@jvincentsen http://principalmusings.wordpress.com/

  4. The longer I teach, the more questions I have. The ones I think of constantly:
    -Did I smile enough today? Did I make students feel important?
    -How can I help my students love learning, not just today, but for life?
    -How can I possibly teach all the curriculum and be sensitive to the needs of the whole child?
    -What's happening in the school community and the town that is affecting students?
    -What hidden curriculum is creeping into my classroom and into the school?
    I have more, but that's all I'll share for now!

  5. Hi George,

    As a Learning Technologies Coordinator, I have one guiding question which you have already mentioned above….How can I work more effectively to help make a difference to improve student learning?

    Our jobs are important but in order to be affective, I continually ask myself what do I need to do to achieve a balanced life with evidence of personal wellness, a commitment to family and friends, a drive for passions outside of the school system, and still find the time to contribute in the field of Education as a reflective research practitioner?

    Specifically I then ask…

    1. What are the skills that students need to develop to make the world a better place?

    2. What are the key trends and challenges that will affect current practices over the next 2-4 years?

    3. What are the most effective strategies to help scale these trends and practices to the system level.

    Of course there are many others, but these seem to be the big questions that come up on a regular basis.


  6. Alissa

    How will my actions invite stakeholders to contribute and to know they are needed.

    Is the decision I'm making going to benefit my own needs rather than the learners and their families.

    Where can I go, and who will help me create more authentic learning experiences.

    What do learners say about how they would like to learn? Have we listened when creating visions at school/district level?

    Will it take me more time to plan this lesson, event, presentation than the amount of time people will think about it afterward?

    If I ever stop waking up at 3:00am with more questions and ideas for how to facilitate learning should I retire? 😉

    Thanks for the opportunity George- managed to distract me from my sun time 😉

  7. Great questions so far – the one that I have been asking lately is “whose values, truths, and voice are guiding this initiative/directive/discussion?”. A follow up to this: “are we including the values and voices of those that have been silenced?”

    Thanks for the great discussion buddy!

  8. Sandra (@technolit)

    Great post for inspiring some equally great comments/questions! I had an aha! moment while reading Alissa's question:

    "Will it take me more time to plan this lesson, event, presentation than the amount of time people will think about it afterward?"

    I've always heard this question as "… the amount of time students will spend doing it." I've never taken it to heart before, because it never mattered to me if it took me longer to create it than for them to do it… Quality matters regardless of my personal time cost (within reason, of course,…. I'm no martyr). But, Alissa's question has a lingering twist. That "thinking about it afterward" piece really helps me bring more balance to my work. That reflection is important. If they ruminate for as long as I spent making it, then there's far greater value to my time spent….

    Thanks again for your inspiring post, George, and for my new guiding question, Alissa.

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