A funny thing happened …

... after my year as a 'Cohorter'.  I began to see myself differently.  I began to believe that I could do things.  Crazy, RIDICULOUS things.   I began Cohort21 last fall with a sense of trepidation; I did not consider myself tech-savvy, I didn't know what a 'tweet deck' was or how to use Google Forms ... but I was curious.  A little encouragement from @lmcbeth and I decided to take the plunge - into a community that as @gvogt recently posited (and I agree) is "the gold standard of a supporting culture".  My journey of the last year is documented in this blog up to the end of last spring; and that's when a funny thing happened.  I was asked if I would join a team of tech-integrators to provide innovation support for teachers at my school.  "But I don't know how to code!" I exclaimed!  Hmmm.  I went home.  I told my husband.  He laughed. I thought about it.

I thought about it some more.  I asked questions. I wanted to do it.  I REALLY wanted to do it and I wasn't even scared!  That is what I believe the leaders of this experience would call 'The Cohort Effect'.  I have read much about Carol Dweck's 'Growth Mindset' and have challenged myself to ensure that I helped my students develop this type of approach to their learning; but until I became part of Cohort 21, I'm not sure that I consciously challenged myself to adopt this mindset.  So, I said yes.  And now, I am as some unknown person once told me: "building the plane in the air". This is a very foreign way to approach teaching for me, but I am learning that 'just-in-time' knowledge and skills delivery may be a good approach to teaching and learning in the 21st century.

Over the summer I undertook training in Design Thinking at the Nueva School in San Mateo California, with a great group of educators - many of who were Computer Science teachers.  It was in Palo Alto that I snapped the feature image for this post at the 'Institute for the Future' 

It did seem ridculous to me at first that I should be asked join a team of tech-savvy teachers in a support role.  But the more I thought about it, the less ridiculous it seemed.  Strategically, we are moving towards a more 'innovative' teaching and learning environment at Branksome Hall, and when I think about how George Couros (Educator, author and consultant) defines innovation as “a way of thinking that creates something new and better"   and the idea that it is borne out of “invention" (something totally new) or “iteration” ( a change of something that already exists) I have come to realize that innovation is a multi-faceted approach to teaching and learning, and furthermore something that under this definition, I am actually extremely passionate about.  Much of my action plan this year will center around exploring the application of this definition to my work in the classroom and as a member of our newly minted 'Innovation Support Team'.

I am beyond excited about continuing my Cohort 21 adventure this year in the role of Coach; but I also value my simultaneous role of learner and look forward to the many conversations ahead and the destinations that are as yet blissfully unknown.  Onwards!

4 thoughts on “A funny thing happened …

  1. Allison,
    This is a great post! Thanks for sharing, and I can't wait to hear more about your trip to the West Coast! I love your comment: "the idea that it is borne out of “invention" (something totally new) or “iteration” ( a change of something that already exists) I have come to realize that innovation is a multi-faceted approach to teaching and learning", because is connects directly to our newest participants!
    We are not asking them to reinvent themselves, we are asking to take in new ideas and open themselves up to shifting their practice based on these new ideas. @mneale recent post has some great questions to help us take in these new ideas!

  2. Allison,
    I love this comment in your post " I am learning that ‘just-in-time’ knowledge and skills delivery may be a good approach to teaching and learning in the 21st century." I agree and it also allows for our students to direct their learning - not everything needs to be pre-planned, prepped, studied and polished! Some of my greatest learning moments have been with something new, something I am not quite comfortable with, or a risk that I took trying to keep up with my kiddies' interests. Thanks for the great post and providing a 'name' for what I always called flying by the seat of my pants! Building of 'just in time' knowledge and skills sounds WAY better!
    L.
    P.S. Really looking forward to working with you again this year.

    L.

  3. Allison, I'm so sorry I'm stumbling a little late to this inspiring post. YES! Pushing ourselves to live where we ask our students to live - just beyond what we believe is possible, veering into total vulnerability - is, I believe, the very foundation of the Growth Mindset. The moment we dive in, very little seems impossible and that's the excitement of learning. I think it's important to understand that before we begin to "teach" it. Peace!

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