quiet flickr photo by hoodoo youdo shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

A little Quiet is quintessential for schools

Schools are remarkably social places. Conversations are the lifeblood of a healthy campus, and each of us has a role to play in shaping them. In order to mold healthy dialogue, we need to juggle the ever-shifting soundcape of an educator’s week.

There’s a lot of noise involved in a teacher’s day: the soundscape of learning, the hum of remembering what needs remembering, and the cacophony of ideas attempting to come to fruition.

George Couros writes extensively about school culture, and in a recent post he shared this:

I have seen amazing schools with terrible mission statements, but I have seen incredibly forward-thinking mission statements that don’t make a difference.  Valuing our people doesn’t mean we don’t push them; it actually means that we do.  We help them become the best version of themselves, but we start with their strengths, not their weaknesses.

How do we start to build on the collective strengths of our staff, whilst finding balance and harmony as we score the sound of our school community?

Integrate Intentional Introversion.

The operative term there is ‘intentional.’ We never want to send a colleauge off into a ‘silo mentality,’ but we also want to make sure that we respect the need for independent inquiry.  One of the very best ways I’ve found going about that is by doing what I’m doing right now: working on my learning portfolio (aka blogging).

The reason I’ve found this quiet space so useful is that I know I’ll come back to it again, and I’ll also (when ready) be able to share it with others (when needed) to continue to curate conversations I have with my PLN (more on that here).

Integrate Intentional Introversion.

If we value reflection for our students, we need to value it for ourselves.  To integrate that quiet reflection into our practice, we need time and we need one another.  What if we used 30 minutes of one meeting per month to reflect and share? What if PD days created space for teachers to independently make connections between the learning and their practice? What if your PLP goals were blogged about and shared with other practitioners?

Integrate Intentional Introversion.

Some of us may find quiet in the small rituals of our day.  I’m thinking specifically of the way John Rinker describes his morning coffee ritual in this talk:

What if a cycle of quiet reflection and the curation of critical thinking were a ritual of your school?

If that cycle already exists at your school, the better question is: how can you archive it? How can you maximize the benefits of reflection?

When I come across portfolios by educators like Kim Cofino or Edna Sackson, (here and here) I’m reminded that all educators are teachers of thinking.  Perhaps that sounds overly simplistic, let me put it another way: we are all responsible for teaching approaches to question construction, responsible for teaching argument-articulation, responsible for inspiring inquiry, and committed to mentoring problem-solvers.

My blog is my space to do the mental stretching required of those aforementioned aspirations.  This is the place I can go to make connections I’ll need to return to.  This has also been my Staffroom 2.0. I’ve received a considerable amount of help and support in this space from other educators.

Silvia Tolisano makes this visible in her post about ‘blogging for learning,’ here. I love a term she uses there: learnflow. It has me wondering, do we do enough to share best practice techniques for our teacher ‘learnflows’? What’s yours?

Damien is currently spinning BBS. flickr photo by : Damien shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license


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“” flickr photo by kryshen https://flickr.com/photos/kryshen/8549273941 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license