Posts Tagged 'More'

Everyone has an important story to tell

Everyone has a story to tell, and, given an opportunity, we all want to tell the important stories of our lives— stories that explain who we are and where we came from, stories that prove we existed and mattered, stories about the people and events that affected our lives. And we can all learn from one another’s stories.

There is no day more appropriate to invite that storytelling than today, which is the 5th anniversary of the “National Day of Listening.”

“On the day after Thanksgiving, StoryCorps asks everyone to take a few minutes to record an interview with a loved one,” the web site of the National Day of Listening recommends.

“You can use recording equipment that is readily available to you, such as computers, iPhones, and tape recorders, along with StoryCorps’ free Do It-Yourself Instruction Guide.”

The lesson that everyone has an important story to tell has been reinforced time and again for me as a hospice volunteer who is privileged to videotape hospice patients talking about their lives in conversation with family members.

All that is required of us is to extend the invitation and to listen deeply without interruption to those stories. Once the conversation begins, it’s likely to proceed almost effortlessly, at least in my experience.

Some possible questions include:

  • What elders or events influenced the person you’ve become?
  • How would you like to be remembered?
  • What advice would you like to pass along to your children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, or others in your life?

There’s no gift more important and precious that human beings can give one another than our undivided attention and genuine interest in the stories we all have to tell. When that attention promotes storytelling across generations, it is a gift that benefits its recipients for decades to come, particularly when those stories are preserved on video or with voice recordings.

What’s on your mind?

• How have stories and storytelling shaped your life?

• To whom would you like to reach out—an elder, a family member or friend, a veteran or active duty military (a special StoryCorps focus this year), a colleague, or a neighbor, for example—to invite his or her storytelling?

[While this post was first published at Thanksgiving 2012, its content is as important and relevant today as it did then. I have updated the links.]

How to make significant changes in just 5 minutes a day

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This is the final post in a series I published this summer that introduced blog themes that connected popular and important posts from recent years.

This week’s post is drawn from my book, Leadership 180: Daily Meditations on School Leadership.

The 180 “mediations” contained within Leadership 180 promote the fundamental skills and attributes of effective leaders. The brief essays are intended in be read in just a few minutes and to evoke one or more actions that will benefit students or the broader school community.

Here’s an example on the importance of having simple, clear, and actionable plans rather than losing clarity and momentum with overly-complex plans.

 

When educators neglect “politics,” they do so at their own peril

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Each week this summer I’m introducing a blog theme that connects popular and important posts from recent years. Each theme offers a number of perspectives on a perennial challenge of school leadership.

This week focuses on policy issues that face public education and, therefore, school leadership.

Successful school leadership requires simultaneously paying attention to the micro—the urgent and immediate—and the macro—the policy and legislative environment that often profoundly influences their day-to-day work and the well being of students.

Because the first category is typically more pressing and because leaders by talent and inclination find more satisfaction in the daily responsibilities of teaching and learning, it is easy to neglect  broader political context of public education.

I encourage you to scroll through articles in this thread to find those that match your interests.

In addition, I encourage you to take a closer look at these essays:

“What the best and wisest parent wants…”

“The storyline used by those who seek to destroy public education”

“A strong rationale for public education”

 

Why scripts and formula cannot continuously improve teaching and learning

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Each week this summer I’m introducing a blog theme that connects popular and important posts from recent years. Each theme offers a number of perspectives on a perennial challenge of school leadership.

This week’s theme is “creating the future of your school.”

Most problems faced by K-12 teachers and administrators require adaptive solutions—that is, solutions for which there is no one-right answer or script.

Viewed from this perspective, educators’ work is more like the improvisation of jazz musicians than the adherence to a musical score of performers in a symphony orchestra. That means that educators must continuously invent their way forward while keeping foremost in their minds the ambitious goals for student success that inspire and guide their work.

I encourage you to scroll through articles in this thread to find those that match your interests.

In addition, I encourage you to take a closer look at these essays:

Choose stretch goals over modest, achievable targets”

“Your answer to these two questions could change your school forever”

“The importance of thinking very big and very small”

 

How to shape change for the benefit of students

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Each week this summer I’m introducing a blog theme that connects popular and important posts from recent years. Each theme offers a number of perspectives on a perennial challenge of school leadership.

This week’s topic is “change.”

Change is a given in K-12 schools, both change that is sought and that which is imposed.

While change is not optional, it can be shaped in ways that benefit students. Change requires intellectual engagement and elicits emotional responses.

Almost always, educators underestimate what’s required to intentional produce meaningful, sustained changes that benefit students in teaching, learning, and relationships.

I encourage you to scroll through articles in this thread to find those that match your interests.

In addition, I encourage you to take a closer look at these essays:

“Don’t fall into the knowing-doing gap”

“How to spread demonstrably successful but uncommonly applied practices”

“Doing what we’ve never done”

 

Why creating positive energy must be a leadership priority

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Each week this summer I’m introducing a blog theme that connects popular and important posts from recent years. Each theme offers a number of perspectives on a perennial challenge of school leadership.

This week’s topic is “creating positive energy.”

The questions that I am most frequently asked when I work with educators concern leaders’ role in creating and sustaining positive energy to achieve stretching goals. Most educators know what doesn’t work—mandates and close monitoring of behavior and outcomes to determine compliance. But what does?

I encourage you to scroll through articles in this thread to find answers to that question.

In addition, I encourage you to take a closer look at these essays:

“How SUCCESS can increase your influence”

Your answer to these two questions could change your school forever”

“Resetting the school community’s default settings”

 

 

Why professional development so often fails

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Each week this summer I’m introducing a blog theme that connects popular and important posts from recent years. Each theme offers a number of perspectives on a perennial challenge of school leadership.

This week’s topic is “professional learning.”

The titles of my most popular blog posts have used terms such as “mindlessness” or “near death experience” to describe professional development. That, and my observations of the field for more than 30 years, convince me that professional development has a long way to go before it is viewed as a useful tool by the vast majority of educators.

I encourage you to scroll through articles in this thread to find those that match your interests.

In addition, I encourage you to take a closer look at these essays:

“‘Inservice’ as a near-death experience”

“How to spread demonstrably successful but uncommonly applied practices”

“5 ways to cultivate complex, intelligent behavior in schools”

 


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