When it comes to rethinking school education I can be overwhelmed at the task and get stuck , or I can do something. The choice to take action is always the best course, but I need to be realistic about the change that is possible. I could look at our government education policy and give up at the complexity of bringing change, or I can start tweaking my own environment, increase influence and then maybe one day, feel that I can affect change in a much broader way.
Change that begins at a local level and grows outward has a much greater chance of sticking.
But how do we know the difference?
In my own life I filter ideas and passions into two categories, articulated by Stephen Covey:
- Circle of Influence
- Circle of Concern
It’s as simple as this diagram. Within the broader sphere of my passions and drivers in life, there are many things that need to change, be developed and to grow and there are also obstacles that should to be dismantled.
While, important, some elements of these are presently not within my sphere of influence, such:
- national assessments
- renewing teacher education
- ubiquitous access to technology for all students.
I have opinions, if asked, and would love to one day be in a position that I can influence in these areas, so at the moment, they are in my ‘Circle of Concern’. In the meantime, I am focussing on growing my ‘Circle of Influence’. I have found that the areas where I can affect change are usually begins locally or within my network.
‘Leadership is Influence’.
The best way to grow lasting change is to grow your leadership.
I’m definitely not an expert on all schools and every context, but there are a few common areas in which to begin thinking about the future of school and education. Why? So that schools will engage, equip and inspire young people for a bright and purposeful future. The deeper you think about these, the less school of the future will look like school of the past, and the present.
This is what you need to do:
- Build vision for the future: Where are you going?
Then think about what of these look like in the context of the vision:
- Build capacity in the present: What do your people need to get there?
- Shape the learning: What does the pedagogy need to look like?
- Shape the space: Where will learning take place? (Hint: think virtual as well as physical spaces)
So instead of being overwhelmed by the enormity of change and the complexity of today’s socio-political context, why not start locally in each of these areas.