Thursday, November 1, 2007

What Do You Stand For?

According to Robert Evans, the author of The Human Side of School Change, this is an essential question that all leaders must ask themselves. He also suggests that a motto is much more effective than a lengthy mission statement or a long list of goals or values. I've been thinking about this a lot lately, trying to frame what I "stand for" into a motto. So far I have narrowed it down to three:

1. Empowering Students and Teachers to
Succeed in the 21st Century!
There is a lot we don't know about the world that will face our students when they are done with their "official" schooling, but we can probably agree that it will include technology. I believe it is our responsibility as educators to teach students to successfully, critically and competently navigate the 21st century technology landscape. In order to help students to do this, we must first feel comfortable and confident about doing this ourselves. I am committed to supporting both my students and my colleagues (and their students) in their efforts to make this happen.

2. Celebrate the Challenges!
According to Evans, Motorola's 1986 motto was "We Celebrate Noble Failure." Carol Dweck would have been proud! I often hear teachers talk about the many challenges that they face when trying to use technology in the classroom. And I completely agree, the network, the computer, the software, the connection, the browser, the operating system will all present a problem individually or collectively at one time or (and) another. How you and your students work to solve the problem is the key. Which leads me to my third motto...

3. Solving the Problem IS the Work!
An essential component to success in the 21st century is being able to work your way through those technology obstacles. Every time you or your students find a solution to a network, computer, software, connection, browser or operating system problem you are succeeding in the 21st century! That is why it is essential that you put yourselves and your students in the position to do so.

OK - so I probably should just pick one motto. Which one do you like best? Do you have a motto? What do you stand for? Please add a comment and let me know.

Evans, Robert. The Human Side of School Change. Reform, resistance, and the real-life problems of innovation. Jossey-Bass. 2001. p. 261
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