I am truly excited to announce that the second book from IMpress, a subsidiary of Dave Burgess Consulting, “Learner-Centred Innovation”, is now available on Amazon. This book is by one of my favorite writers and someone I look to as a thought leader in education, Katie Martin. I have known Katie for several years, and am also proud to call her friend. Below is my foreword to the book, and I encourage you to get a copy as it is an incredible read. I am proud to have been a part of this project and help bring Katie’s work to a larger audience.
In 2015, I had the wonderful opportunity to write and publish the book, “The Innovator’s Mindset“. Katie Martin, a dear friend and colleague of mine over the past few years, was crucial in what was written in those pages. Her mind toward where education was and where education needs to go is one of the brightest that I have met in the past few years. When writing my book, after completing each chapter, I gave Katie carte blanche to edit anything that I wrote as she saw fit. To be honest, I can’t think of one other person in the world that I would trust so much with a book that would bear my name.
This doesn’t mean we agreed on everything, and to this day, we still don’t. The push and pull of ideas that Katie has provided me have sharpened my own thinking. It is something I wish were the norm in schools today. Often, we agree on ideas or practices in person, but are we too afraid to have the tough conversations and embrace the meaningful conflict needed to really create the important changes education needs to move forward? If we do not embrace opportunities for challenge, who does that benefit in the long term? Definitely not the educator, and most certainly not the students. We need that balance of “push and pull” if we are going to create effective change, and it is important that we have critical friends in our work as educators. Katie will not only challenge your thinking in this book, but she will also push you to ask more questions. Her approach is about starting and deepening the conversation with you, not telling you what to do. She knows that people who ask questions first are the ones who change the world.
When I met Katie several years ago, we spoke all things education for a significant part of the day. Her ideas challenged me and provided me with inspiration to try new things and question my own assumptions about what I believed I knew in the world of education. As she continued to speak, I stopped her and told her, “you need to blog.” My belief was that someone with the vision Katie had for educators and students (learners) should not be limited to a conversation here and there, but her thinking needs to be shared with the world. It would not only help Katie really reflect on her own learning but more importantly, that thinking would be shared with the world.
Katie eventually took me up on the challenge to blog, and her blog subheading, “Inspired by Research, Refined by Practice,” is exemplified through her work. Katie strikes a fine balance between identifying what has worked in the past while keeping an eye on what students need in the future. Too often, books take a stance on one side of the spectrum or the other, but Katie weaves the two intricately together, to help schools create students who ask questions and identify problems in the same way she creates experiences where the adults do the same.
The work of educators is challenging. We must recognize individuals and systems for the gains we have made, and we must create a culture that continuously looks to develop students’ strengths and improve in areas of weakness. And just as we expect of the children in our schools, we need to continuously grow as learners. Both elements are crucial for growth that is spurred by validation. Katie provides both in this book. You will end up feeling inspired to push your own learning through stories and examples of practice happening in education right now, and you will feel affirmed by the knowledge that many of your current practices that enhance student learning are putting both schools and individual students on the right path.
Three things I ask you as you read this text:
- Identify what has challenged you.
- Identify what has been reaffirmed.
- Identify what you will do moving forward.
This will give you a path to make your own connections to where you are and where you are going. No idea in education can simply be carbon copied, as each community and learner is at a different place. Katie writes this to provide the ideas, but it is up to the reader(s) to make the actions happen.
I have been blessed to have direct access to the wisdom of Katie Martin for the past several years, and I am glad that her ideas will now reach many more schools through this book. The ideas here will inspire you to challenge your own thinking, ask more questions, and create better schools for our students. What more could you ask?