There are two extremes on the continuum of the paradigm of change. On one extreme is the belief that first someone else needs to change, or a system needs to change before I can move forward. I need to see something change before I believe is possible- before I act myself. On the other side is the belief that change starts with me. I don’t have to wait for others to change or for the system to change. Holding the belief that change is possible- believing it before seeing it, and acting on that belief. Of course there is everything in between these two extremes and depending on the situation, our paradigm of change may shift around a little- or a lot.
The more we believe in the power of “me” (the power of our own ability to initiate change) the stronger will be our power of “we” (our collective ability to move the needle forward).
I often think about the many things that students are asked to do for the first time on a daily basis. They are asked on a daily basis to take risk, to try a new strategy, to be vulnerable in order to learn. When we really think about what it is that we ask of students, I hope we’d all be able to say that we are willing to do the same. That we are willing to model what we wish to see in others. The same can be applied to teachers and leaders in education. Leaders get more of what they model. A powerful way to support and shape behavior is to model it. It would be a complete culture killer and learning roadblock to expect others to do what we are not willing to do ourselves. To model our learning takes risk, vulnerability, and believing in something bigger than ourselves. Modeling is not about showing off a skill or a tool, but about sharing our struggles and successes for the sake of our learning community.
Modeling our learning is about intentionally closing the knowing and doing gap. It is easy to sit idle and talk about instructional practices and it is another to be willing to execute them, reflect on them and share. Since I have been out of a traditional classroom roll for almost two years know, I find it even more important to model my own learning. I do this through blogging, connecting, presenting, designing or co-creating classroom experiences, and perhaps one of the most important is through day to day interactions with students and colleagues.
It’s not just about being credible, or showing people that “you’ve still got it”- it’s good for your soul!
To be a part of the learning process with kids and adults connects us back to our “why.” We got into this profession to make an impact! What good is our learning if we keep it to ourselves? I believe the most impactful innovations happen when we are willing to put ourselves out there for the sake of all of us.