Not too long ago, Lynn and I started recording for our new podcast on learner-centered leadership: Shift Your #Leadership Paradigm. We are excited to roll this out to you in late April! Following the terrific conversation we had with Education Reimagined‘s Executive Director, Kelly Young, I attended a three-day Edcamp Leadership Summit. I have to say it seems I have been looking at everything in my practice through the learner-centered lens lately, and the Summit provided plenty of opportunities for great conversation and reflection. Here are some thoughts and open questions from the weekend….
- Edcamps are built on learner-centered! Edcamps are about educators — teachers, leaders…and sometimes even students — owning the learning. Edcamps are really a grass-roots reaction to professional learning being given or “done” to teachers, by the system. I heard a lot of those in attendance sharing how they do not like having professional development “done” to them; they prefer autonomy over their own learning based on their own needs – very personalized and modeling the idea of learner agency! Question to explore further: What do the classrooms of edcampers look like? Are they learner-centered as well?
- Exponential Change Impacts Our World and Education: AR, VR, MR, AR… I facilitated this Edcamp session with Glenn Robbins. The group talked about the value of innovation in our schools and how these learning opportunities (stretching us beyond the limits of test-prep) build skills our learners will need in a world filled with exponential change including technologies. We also talked about the role of leadership in supporting innovations. Systemic change cannot happen without both bottom-up and top-down involvement. Question to explore further: How much more systemic would innovation be if leadership was involved in the innovation conversation?
- I wish my leader would… I wish my leader would not… This was a good follow-up session to Exponential Change… Co-facilitated with Erin Murphy, we wanted to engage people in conversation about what they value in a leader and what they would like to see change about leadership in their schools. We spent a bit of time talking about managing up – a strategy to use when we run up against, NO. Question to explore further: How can an increased sensitivity to empathy help us work better with our leaders? Do leaders understand the needs, passions and goals of those they lead? How do followers demonstrate and practice empathy when interacting with their leaders?
- Building an Empathy Machine: With Teachers, Students, the World. This session brought together the work of the day. We talked about what empathy looks like, mostly through the eyes of students as learners. Question to explore further: How do we model empathy as adults? What if adults strengthened their practice of empathy?
It’s amazing what one sees when they shift paradigms from a school-centered paradigm to a learner-centered paradigm. Having the opportunity to attend the Edcamp summit gave me some pretty intense practice in deepening my own understanding and engaging in valuable conversations with equally curious educators. Thanks Edcamp Foundation and Executive Director, Hadley Ferguson for organizing the weekend!
What aspects of your practice can you start examining through the learner-centered lens?
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