Tag: future



These tips are actually true for conversations with just about anyone, not only students. Too often I think we avoid having a difficult conversation about a topic because we aren’t sure how it will go. We aren’t sure if it will be productive, so we just remain silent.



Or, on the other hand, we know the topic might evoke some strong emotions, so we come at the conversation forcefully, from a position of dominance. It’s the “my way or the highway” approach. That might get compliance from students, but it won’t build trust or stronger relationships. Underneath it all, there will be a kid who resents you.



Neither of these approaches is successful. It’s not good to be silent and avoid the topic. And it’s not good to be aggressive and overbearing either. A healthy relationship is build on mutual trust that comes through respectful dialogue.



Here are five tips for having difficult conversations that create shared meaning and understanding.



1. Keep Dialogue Open



Let the student know that you are willing to listen and work together to solve the problem. Ask if they are willing to listen to your thoughts too. Keep the focus on the issue and not on sweeping generalizations like “You always…” or “You never…” statements. You might even ask the student, “How can we have this conversation in a way that is positive and helpful?”



2. Make Respect a Top Priority



Let the student know you believe it’s possible to solve any problem if both parties are respectful of one another. Let the student know you will never intentionally disrespect him or her. Let them know you want to hear what they think about the issue. The words we use are powerful and communicate our level of respect. Your body language and tone of voice are equally important.



3. Describe Your Intentions



You might say, “I’m willing to discuss this as long as it takes until we both feel good about how it’s resolved.” Let the student know you’re wanting a solution he or she can feel good about too. We’re aiming for a WIN/WIN outcome, not my way or the highway. As the teacher, you don’t have to prove you’re in charge. You ARE in charge. You don’t have to prove it. Work cooperatively with students to seek WIN/WIN solutions.



4. Be Curious, Not Furious



Ask questions to understand the student’s perspective. Be curious about what they are experiencing. Say, “Tell me more” or “Go on” to show you are interested in hearing the details. Paraphrase what they say to you to show you’re listening. My biggest mistake is talking too much. When I’m “telling” a student what I think should happen, I’m missing the opportunity to listen and better understand the student’s perspective.

5. Avoid Countering



Countering results in arguments. We start debating the facts. We build our case. We prove our points. It’s about “being right.” Try to avoid this trap. Try to stay curious and avoid countering. Spend more time listening. The goal is to get to a place where both parties let their guard down and work together cooperatively.



6. Timing is Everything



In my first few years as a principal, I would sometimes choose horrible timing to try to address an issue. I thought it had to be resolved immediately. Usually, that’s not true. Most of the time it can wait until cooler heads prevail. If I sense there is no way to have safe dialogue in the moment, I’ll step away temporarily. And then I’ll resume the conversation in a different location in a different time. This works much better than allowing a situation to escalate.



7. Focus on the Future



Every kid needs a fresh start every day. Time spent holding onto yesterday means less time moving forward today. Take inventory of the current situation, but then focus on the future. Where do we want our relationship to go from here? How can we work together to make the future brighter in this situation? What are we trying to accomplish? What will it look like if we are successful in resolving this problem?



Some people might view these tips as “going easy, or “being soft” or “having low expectations.” I would completely disagree. We must have firm boundaries. What’s easy is avoiding the conversation entirely. What’s easy is being silent. What’s easy is also using threats or power to get your way. What’s hard is listening to a student, understanding their perspective, and guiding them in a way that is cooperative and respectful. We MUST have boundaries, and we MUST challenge behavior that is harmful to learning. But the way we do it can either build trust or destroy it. 



What are some of your strategies for having difficult conversations with students? I know you have some great tips to share. I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More 7 Tips for Difficult Conversations with Students



These tips are actually true for conversations with just about anyone, not only students. Too often I think we avoid having a difficult conversation about a topic because we aren’t sure how it will go. We aren’t sure if it will be productive, so we just remain silent.



Or, on the other hand, we know the topic might evoke some strong emotions, so we come at the conversation forcefully, from a position of dominance. It’s the “my way or the highway” approach. That might get compliance from students, but it won’t build trust or stronger relationships. Underneath it all, there will be a kid who resents you.



Neither of these approaches is successful. It’s not good to be silent and avoid the topic. And it’s not good to be aggressive and overbearing either. A healthy relationship is build on mutual trust that comes through respectful dialogue.



Here are five tips for having difficult conversations that create shared meaning and understanding.



1. Keep Dialogue Open



Let the student know that you are willing to listen and work together to solve the problem. Ask if they are willing to listen to your thoughts too. Keep the focus on the issue and not on sweeping generalizations like “You always…” or “You never…” statements. You might even ask the student, “How can we have this conversation in a way that is positive and helpful?”



2. Make Respect a Top Priority



Let the student know you believe it’s possible to solve any problem if both parties are respectful of one another. Let the student know you will never intentionally disrespect him or her. Let them know you want to hear what they think about the issue. The words we use are powerful and communicate our level of respect. Your body language and tone of voice are equally important.



3. Describe Your Intentions



You might say, “I’m willing to discuss this as long as it takes until we both feel good about how it’s resolved.” Let the student know you’re wanting a solution he or she can feel good about too. We’re aiming for a WIN/WIN outcome, not my way or the highway. As the teacher, you don’t have to prove you’re in charge. You ARE in charge. You don’t have to prove it. Work cooperatively with students to seek WIN/WIN solutions.



4. Be Curious, Not Furious



Ask questions to understand the student’s perspective. Be curious about what they are experiencing. Say, “Tell me more” or “Go on” to show you are interested in hearing the details. Paraphrase what they say to you to show you’re listening. My biggest mistake is talking too much. When I’m “telling” a student what I think should happen, I’m missing the opportunity to listen and better understand the student’s perspective.

5. Avoid Countering



Countering results in arguments. We start debating the facts. We build our case. We prove our points. It’s about “being right.” Try to avoid this trap. Try to stay curious and avoid countering. Spend more time listening. The goal is to get to a place where both parties let their guard down and work together cooperatively.



6. Timing is Everything



In my first few years as a principal, I would sometimes choose horrible timing to try to address an issue. I thought it had to be resolved immediately. Usually, that’s not true. Most of the time it can wait until cooler heads prevail. If I sense there is no way to have safe dialogue in the moment, I’ll step away temporarily. And then I’ll resume the conversation in a different location in a different time. This works much better than allowing a situation to escalate.



7. Focus on the Future



Every kid needs a fresh start every day. Time spent holding onto yesterday means less time moving forward today. Take inventory of the current situation, but then focus on the future. Where do we want our relationship to go from here? How can we work together to make the future brighter in this situation? What are we trying to accomplish? What will it look like if we are successful in resolving this problem?



Some people might view these tips as “going easy, or “being soft” or “having low expectations.” I would completely disagree. We must have firm boundaries. What’s easy is avoiding the conversation entirely. What’s easy is being silent. What’s easy is also using threats or power to get your way. What’s hard is listening to a student, understanding their perspective, and guiding them in a way that is cooperative and respectful. We MUST have boundaries, and we MUST challenge behavior that is harmful to learning. But the way we do it can either build trust or destroy it. 



What are some of your strategies for having difficult conversations with students? I know you have some great tips to share. I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More 7 Tips for Difficult Conversations with Students



These tips are actually true for conversations with just about anyone, not only students. Too often I think we avoid having a difficult conversation about a topic because we aren’t sure how it will go. We aren’t sure if it will be productive, so we just remain silent.



Or, on the other hand, we know the topic might evoke some strong emotions, so we come at the conversation forcefully, from a position of dominance. It’s the “my way or the highway” approach. That might get compliance from students, but it won’t build trust or stronger relationships. Underneath it all, there will be a kid who resents you.



Neither of these approaches is successful. It’s not good to be silent and avoid the topic. And it’s not good to be aggressive and overbearing either. A healthy relationship is build on mutual trust that comes through respectful dialogue.



Here are five tips for having difficult conversations that create shared meaning and understanding.



1. Keep Dialogue Open



Let the student know that you are willing to listen and work together to solve the problem. Ask if they are willing to listen to your thoughts too. Keep the focus on the issue and not on sweeping generalizations like “You always…” or “You never…” statements. You might even ask the student, “How can we have this conversation in a way that is positive and helpful?”



2. Make Respect a Top Priority



Let the student know you believe it’s possible to solve any problem if both parties are respectful of one another. Let the student know you will never intentionally disrespect him or her. Let them know you want to hear what they think about the issue. The words we use are powerful and communicate our level of respect. Your body language and tone of voice are equally important.



3. Describe Your Intentions



You might say, “I’m willing to discuss this as long as it takes until we both feel good about how it’s resolved.” Let the student know you’re wanting a solution he or she can feel good about too. We’re aiming for a WIN/WIN outcome, not my way or the highway. As the teacher, you don’t have to prove you’re in charge. You ARE in charge. You don’t have to prove it. Work cooperatively with students to seek WIN/WIN solutions.



4. Be Curious, Not Furious



Ask questions to understand the student’s perspective. Be curious about what they are experiencing. Say, “Tell me more” or “Go on” to show you are interested in hearing the details. Paraphrase what they say to you to show you’re listening. My biggest mistake is talking too much. When I’m “telling” a student what I think should happen, I’m missing the opportunity to listen and better understand the student’s perspective.

5. Avoid Countering



Countering results in arguments. We start debating the facts. We build our case. We prove our points. It’s about “being right.” Try to avoid this trap. Try to stay curious and avoid countering. Spend more time listening. The goal is to get to a place where both parties let their guard down and work together cooperatively.



6. Timing is Everything



In my first few years as a principal, I would sometimes choose horrible timing to try to address an issue. I thought it had to be resolved immediately. Usually, that’s not true. Most of the time it can wait until cooler heads prevail. If I sense there is no way to have safe dialogue in the moment, I’ll step away temporarily. And then I’ll resume the conversation in a different location in a different time. This works much better than allowing a situation to escalate.



7. Focus on the Future



Every kid needs a fresh start every day. Time spent holding onto yesterday means less time moving forward today. Take inventory of the current situation, but then focus on the future. Where do we want our relationship to go from here? How can we work together to make the future brighter in this situation? What are we trying to accomplish? What will it look like if we are successful in resolving this problem?



Some people might view these tips as “going easy, or “being soft” or “having low expectations.” I would completely disagree. We must have firm boundaries. What’s easy is avoiding the conversation entirely. What’s easy is being silent. What’s easy is also using threats or power to get your way. What’s hard is listening to a student, understanding their perspective, and guiding them in a way that is cooperative and respectful. We MUST have boundaries, and we MUST challenge behavior that is harmful to learning. But the way we do it can either build trust or destroy it. 



What are some of your strategies for having difficult conversations with students? I know you have some great tips to share. I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More 7 Tips for Difficult Conversations with Students



These tips are actually true for conversations with just about anyone, not only students. Too often I think we avoid having a difficult conversation about a topic because we aren’t sure how it will go. We aren’t sure if it will be productive, so we just remain silent.



Or, on the other hand, we know the topic might evoke some strong emotions, so we come at the conversation forcefully, from a position of dominance. It’s the “my way or the highway” approach. That might get compliance from students, but it won’t build trust or stronger relationships. Underneath it all, there will be a kid who resents you.



Neither of these approaches is successful. It’s not good to be silent and avoid the topic. And it’s not good to be aggressive and overbearing either. A healthy relationship is build on mutual trust that comes through respectful dialogue.



Here are five tips for having difficult conversations that create shared meaning and understanding.



1. Keep Dialogue Open



Let the student know that you are willing to listen and work together to solve the problem. Ask if they are willing to listen to your thoughts too. Keep the focus on the issue and not on sweeping generalizations like “You always…” or “You never…” statements. You might even ask the student, “How can we have this conversation in a way that is positive and helpful?”



2. Make Respect a Top Priority



Let the student know you believe it’s possible to solve any problem if both parties are respectful of one another. Let the student know you will never intentionally disrespect him or her. Let them know you want to hear what they think about the issue. The words we use are powerful and communicate our level of respect. Your body language and tone of voice are equally important.



3. Describe Your Intentions



You might say, “I’m willing to discuss this as long as it takes until we both feel good about how it’s resolved.” Let the student know you’re wanting a solution he or she can feel good about too. We’re aiming for a WIN/WIN outcome, not my way or the highway. As the teacher, you don’t have to prove you’re in charge. You ARE in charge. You don’t have to prove it. Work cooperatively with students to seek WIN/WIN solutions.



4. Be Curious, Not Furious



Ask questions to understand the student’s perspective. Be curious about what they are experiencing. Say, “Tell me more” or “Go on” to show you are interested in hearing the details. Paraphrase what they say to you to show you’re listening. My biggest mistake is talking too much. When I’m “telling” a student what I think should happen, I’m missing the opportunity to listen and better understand the student’s perspective.

5. Avoid Countering



Countering results in arguments. We start debating the facts. We build our case. We prove our points. It’s about “being right.” Try to avoid this trap. Try to stay curious and avoid countering. Spend more time listening. The goal is to get to a place where both parties let their guard down and work together cooperatively.



6. Timing is Everything



In my first few years as a principal, I would sometimes choose horrible timing to try to address an issue. I thought it had to be resolved immediately. Usually, that’s not true. Most of the time it can wait until cooler heads prevail. If I sense there is no way to have safe dialogue in the moment, I’ll step away temporarily. And then I’ll resume the conversation in a different location in a different time. This works much better than allowing a situation to escalate.



7. Focus on the Future



Every kid needs a fresh start every day. Time spent holding onto yesterday means less time moving forward today. Take inventory of the current situation, but then focus on the future. Where do we want our relationship to go from here? How can we work together to make the future brighter in this situation? What are we trying to accomplish? What will it look like if we are successful in resolving this problem?



Some people might view these tips as “going easy, or “being soft” or “having low expectations.” I would completely disagree. We must have firm boundaries. What’s easy is avoiding the conversation entirely. What’s easy is being silent. What’s easy is also using threats or power to get your way. What’s hard is listening to a student, understanding their perspective, and guiding them in a way that is cooperative and respectful. We MUST have boundaries, and we MUST challenge behavior that is harmful to learning. But the way we do it can either build trust or destroy it. 



What are some of your strategies for having difficult conversations with students? I know you have some great tips to share. I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More 7 Tips for Difficult Conversations with Students



These tips are actually true for conversations with just about anyone, not only students. Too often I think we avoid having a difficult conversation about a topic because we aren’t sure how it will go. We aren’t sure if it will be productive, so we just remain silent.



Or, on the other hand, we know the topic might evoke some strong emotions, so we come at the conversation forcefully, from a position of dominance. It’s the “my way or the highway” approach. That might get compliance from students, but it won’t build trust or stronger relationships. Underneath it all, there will be a kid who resents you.



Neither of these approaches is successful. It’s not good to be silent and avoid the topic. And it’s not good to be aggressive and overbearing either. A healthy relationship is build on mutual trust that comes through respectful dialogue.



Here are five tips for having difficult conversations that create shared meaning and understanding.



1. Keep Dialogue Open



Let the student know that you are willing to listen and work together to solve the problem. Ask if they are willing to listen to your thoughts too. Keep the focus on the issue and not on sweeping generalizations like “You always…” or “You never…” statements. You might even ask the student, “How can we have this conversation in a way that is positive and helpful?”



2. Make Respect a Top Priority



Let the student know you believe it’s possible to solve any problem if both parties are respectful of one another. Let the student know you will never intentionally disrespect him or her. Let them know you want to hear what they think about the issue. The words we use are powerful and communicate our level of respect. Your body language and tone of voice are equally important.



3. Describe Your Intentions



You might say, “I’m willing to discuss this as long as it takes until we both feel good about how it’s resolved.” Let the student know you’re wanting a solution he or she can feel good about too. We’re aiming for a WIN/WIN outcome, not my way or the highway. As the teacher, you don’t have to prove you’re in charge. You ARE in charge. You don’t have to prove it. Work cooperatively with students to seek WIN/WIN solutions.



4. Be Curious, Not Furious



Ask questions to understand the student’s perspective. Be curious about what they are experiencing. Say, “Tell me more” or “Go on” to show you are interested in hearing the details. Paraphrase what they say to you to show you’re listening. My biggest mistake is talking too much. When I’m “telling” a student what I think should happen, I’m missing the opportunity to listen and better understand the student’s perspective.

5. Avoid Countering



Countering results in arguments. We start debating the facts. We build our case. We prove our points. It’s about “being right.” Try to avoid this trap. Try to stay curious and avoid countering. Spend more time listening. The goal is to get to a place where both parties let their guard down and work together cooperatively.



6. Timing is Everything



In my first few years as a principal, I would sometimes choose horrible timing to try to address an issue. I thought it had to be resolved immediately. Usually, that’s not true. Most of the time it can wait until cooler heads prevail. If I sense there is no way to have safe dialogue in the moment, I’ll step away temporarily. And then I’ll resume the conversation in a different location in a different time. This works much better than allowing a situation to escalate.



7. Focus on the Future



Every kid needs a fresh start every day. Time spent holding onto yesterday means less time moving forward today. Take inventory of the current situation, but then focus on the future. Where do we want our relationship to go from here? How can we work together to make the future brighter in this situation? What are we trying to accomplish? What will it look like if we are successful in resolving this problem?



Some people might view these tips as “going easy, or “being soft” or “having low expectations.” I would completely disagree. We must have firm boundaries. What’s easy is avoiding the conversation entirely. What’s easy is being silent. What’s easy is also using threats or power to get your way. What’s hard is listening to a student, understanding their perspective, and guiding them in a way that is cooperative and respectful. We MUST have boundaries, and we MUST challenge behavior that is harmful to learning. But the way we do it can either build trust or destroy it. 



What are some of your strategies for having difficult conversations with students? I know you have some great tips to share. I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More 7 Tips for Difficult Conversations with Students



Reflection is so important for continued learning and growth. I developed the list below as a tool for educators to reflect on practices that help prepare students for a rapidly changing, complex world. Some of these practices are new. Some are not. Some of them involve technology. Some do not. 


These are all based on important themes from my book, Future Driven. These factors help prepare students for a modern world where continuous learning and adaptability are paramount.



I don’t think I would expect any educator to be pursuing all of these indicators at once. And this list should never be used to think in terms of judging a good teacher vs. a bad teacher. So don’t look at it like that. The purpose of the list is for reflection and growth.


It might give you an idea of where you want to focus your learning for next school year. You could pick one or two and consider how you might develop the practice in your classroom. It might help you consider your next steps in your growth as an educator.


20 Ways to be Future Driven in Your Classroom


1. I provide opportunities for project-based and inquiry-based learning.

2. I give students choices about learning (time, place, path, or pace).

3. I am learning new things about technology and sharing my learning with students and teachers.

4. My students have opportunities to connect with real-world experts.

5. My classroom learning space provides flexibility for student-centered grouping and learning tasks.

6. My students regularly have opportunities to use digital tools to leverage their skills for learning tasks.

7. I utilize Genius Hour or 20 percent time to provide opportunities for students to pursue their passions and interests.

8. I model risk-taking, grit, and perseverance for students and regularly discuss the importance of these characteristics in class.

9. I build strong relationships by greeting students, calling them by name, and getting to know them as individuals.

10. My students assume considerable responsibility for class discussions. Conversations become student-led, instead of teacher-directed.

11. My students take on projects that make a difference in the community or in the world (service-learning).

12. My students have many opportunities to create work that will be visible to authentic audiences.

13. I am intentional about cultivating curiosity in my students by having them develop their own questions, by allowing exploration, or by creating mystery or intrigue.

14. I ask my students for feedback on my teaching and the relevance of my lessons.

15. Empathy is just as important as responsibility in my classroom.

16. I am focused more on what a child can do and not what he/she cannot do.

17. I think about how the future will be different for my students and strive to teach with that in mind.

18. My students have opportunities to experiment with different approaches, rather than just practicing a predetermined method.

19. Character is more important than compliance in my classroom.

20. My students have many chances to take initiative, not just follow directions.



What other practices do you think are important for relevant, future ready learning? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More 20 Ways to Be Future Driven in Your Classroom



Reflection is so important for continued learning and growth. I developed the list below as a tool for educators to reflect on practices that help prepare students for a rapidly changing, complex world. Some of these practices are new. Some are not. Some of them involve technology. Some do not. 


These are all based on important themes from my book, Future Driven. These factors help prepare students for a modern world where continuous learning and adaptability are paramount.



I don’t think I would expect any educator to be pursuing all of these indicators at once. And this list should never be used to think in terms of judging a good teacher vs. a bad teacher. So don’t look at it like that. The purpose of the list is for reflection and growth.


It might give you an idea of where you want to focus your learning for next school year. You could pick one or two and consider how you might develop the practice in your classroom. It might help you consider your next steps in your growth as an educator.


20 Ways to be Future Driven in Your Classroom


1. I provide opportunities for project-based and inquiry-based learning.

2. I give students choices about learning (time, place, path, or pace).

3. I am learning new things about technology and sharing my learning with students and teachers.

4. My students have opportunities to connect with real-world experts.

5. My classroom learning space provides flexibility for student-centered grouping and learning tasks.

6. My students regularly have opportunities to use digital tools to leverage their skills for learning tasks.

7. I utilize Genius Hour or 20 percent time to provide opportunities for students to pursue their passions and interests.

8. I model risk-taking, grit, and perseverance for students and regularly discuss the importance of these characteristics in class.

9. I build strong relationships by greeting students, calling them by name, and getting to know them as individuals.

10. My students assume considerable responsibility for class discussions. Conversations become student-led, instead of teacher-directed.

11. My students take on projects that make a difference in the community or in the world (service-learning).

12. My students have many opportunities to create work that will be visible to authentic audiences.

13. I am intentional about cultivating curiosity in my students by having them develop their own questions, by allowing exploration, or by creating mystery or intrigue.

14. I ask my students for feedback on my teaching and the relevance of my lessons.

15. Empathy is just as important as responsibility in my classroom.

16. I am focused more on what a child can do and not what he/she cannot do.

17. I think about how the future will be different for my students and strive to teach with that in mind.

18. My students have opportunities to experiment with different approaches, rather than just practicing a predetermined method.

19. Character is more important than compliance in my classroom.

20. My students have many chances to take initiative, not just follow directions.



What other practices do you think are important for relevant, future ready learning? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More 20 Ways to Be Future Driven in Your Classroom



Reflection is so important for continued learning and growth. I developed the list below as a tool for educators to reflect on practices that help prepare students for a rapidly changing, complex world. Some of these practices are new. Some are not. Some of them involve technology. Some do not. 


These are all based on important themes from my book, Future Driven. These factors help prepare students for a modern world where continuous learning and adaptability are paramount.



I don’t think I would expect any educator to be pursuing all of these indicators at once. And this list should never be used to think in terms of judging a good teacher vs. a bad teacher. So don’t look at it like that. The purpose of the list is for reflection and growth.


It might give you an idea of where you want to focus your learning for next school year. You could pick one or two and consider how you might develop the practice in your classroom. It might help you consider your next steps in your growth as an educator.


20 Ways to be Future Driven in Your Classroom


1. I provide opportunities for project-based and inquiry-based learning.

2. I give students choices about learning (time, place, path, or pace).

3. I am learning new things about technology and sharing my learning with students and teachers.

4. My students have opportunities to connect with real-world experts.

5. My classroom learning space provides flexibility for student-centered grouping and learning tasks.

6. My students regularly have opportunities to use digital tools to leverage their skills for learning tasks.

7. I utilize Genius Hour or 20 percent time to provide opportunities for students to pursue their passions and interests.

8. I model risk-taking, grit, and perseverance for students and regularly discuss the importance of these characteristics in class.

9. I build strong relationships by greeting students, calling them by name, and getting to know them as individuals.

10. My students assume considerable responsibility for class discussions. Conversations become student-led, instead of teacher-directed.

11. My students take on projects that make a difference in the community or in the world (service-learning).

12. My students have many opportunities to create work that will be visible to authentic audiences.

13. I am intentional about cultivating curiosity in my students by having them develop their own questions, by allowing exploration, or by creating mystery or intrigue.

14. I ask my students for feedback on my teaching and the relevance of my lessons.

15. Empathy is just as important as responsibility in my classroom.

16. I am focused more on what a child can do and not what he/she cannot do.

17. I think about how the future will be different for my students and strive to teach with that in mind.

18. My students have opportunities to experiment with different approaches, rather than just practicing a predetermined method.

19. Character is more important than compliance in my classroom.

20. My students have many chances to take initiative, not just follow directions.



What other practices do you think are important for relevant, future ready learning? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

      

Read More 20 Ways to Be Future Driven in Your Classroom



Reflection is so important for continued learning and growth. I developed the list below as a tool for educators to reflect on practices that help prepare students for a rapidly changing, complex world. Some of these practices are new. Some are not. Some of them involve technology. Some do not. 


These are all based on important themes from my book, Future Driven. These factors help prepare students for a modern world where continuous learning and adaptability are paramount.



I don’t think I would expect any educator to be pursuing all of these indicators at once. And this list should never be used to think in terms of judging a good teacher vs. a bad teacher. So don’t look at it like that. The purpose of the list is for reflection and growth.


It might give you an idea of where you want to focus your learning for next school year. You could pick one or two and consider how you might develop the practice in your classroom. It might help you consider your next steps in your growth as an educator.


20 Ways to be Future Driven in Your Classroom


1. I provide opportunities for project-based and inquiry-based learning.

2. I give students choices about learning (time, place, path, or pace).

3. I am learning new things about technology and sharing my learning with students and teachers.

4. My students have opportunities to connect with real-world experts.

5. My classroom learning space provides flexibility for student-centered grouping and learning tasks.

6. My students regularly have opportunities to use digital tools to leverage their skills for learning tasks.

7. I utilize Genius Hour or 20 percent time to provide opportunities for students to pursue their passions and interests.

8. I model risk-taking, grit, and perseverance for students and regularly discuss the importance of these characteristics in class.

9. I build strong relationships by greeting students, calling them by name, and getting to know them as individuals.

10. My students assume considerable responsibility for class discussions. Conversations become student-led, instead of teacher-directed.

11. My students take on projects that make a difference in the community or in the world (service-learning).

12. My students have many opportunities to create work that will be visible to authentic audiences.

13. I am intentional about cultivating curiosity in my students by having them develop their own questions, by allowing exploration, or by creating mystery or intrigue.

14. I ask my students for feedback on my teaching and the relevance of my lessons.

15. Empathy is just as important as responsibility in my classroom.

16. I am focused more on what a child can do and not what he/she cannot do.

17. I think about how the future will be different for my students and strive to teach with that in mind.

18. My students have opportunities to experiment with different approaches, rather than just practicing a predetermined method.

19. Character is more important than compliance in my classroom.

20. My students have many chances to take initiative, not just follow directions.



What other practices do you think are important for relevant, future ready learning? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

      

Read More 20 Ways to Be Future Driven in Your Classroom





Most of what is learned in the traditional approach to school is not adaptable learning. It is discrete learning. It’s focused on a specific body of knowledge and isn’t always transferable to new situations. Yesterday’s learning is in silos with distinct separation among the disciplines. It’s the type of learning that was useful in a world where you could train for a profession and be assured of relative stability in that profession for many years.



Gone are those days.



Our world is moving extremely fast. We can’t even fathom how fast things are changing. We’re too close to the change to get a sense of the magnitude. 



How can we deal with this increased complexity and uncertainty? Change is accelerating. And that creates a need for a different type of learning. In Future Driven, I write that adaptable learners will own the future.



So what makes an adaptable learner? Here are 11 characteristics.



1. Recognize Your Environment Is Constantly Changing



Adaptable learners are ready. They embrace change. It’s not just small changes we’re talking about. It’s a tidal wave of change that’s coming. Change is accelerating exponentially. You must be willing to adapt.



2. Reject Comfort and Complacency



You can’t adjust to the changes, meet the challenges, or take advantage of the opportunities without stepping out of your comfort zone.



3. Take Ownership of Results



It’s not helpful to blame poor outcomes on changing circumstances. The adaptable learner looks inward first to find solutions. There’s a stubbornness to find a way or make a way.



4. Show Willingness to Collaborate



No one person can have all the skills needed to meet the challenges of rapid change. But together, it’s possible to leverage our shared abilities for the good of our team.



5. Build Resilience and Perseverance



In an uncertain learning environment, there will be mistakes. It’s important to learn from these mistakes and press on. It’s critical to stay with difficult problems and try different solutions.



6. Demonstrate Care for Others



I believe adaptable learners are caring learners. People find better solutions when there is a larger purpose. When people are caring learners, it makes the learning meaningful.



7. Be Open to Changing Your Mind



No one has it all figured out. Have strong opinions loosely held. If presented with new evidence, be willing to take a new position.



8. Be Flexible in Your Methods, Focused on Your Mission



Our methods and practices must change with the times, but our process of adapting can continue. And ultimately, the mission can continue. 



9. Be Eager to Try New Things and Learn New Skills



Adaptable learners are constantly picking up new skills and adjusting previous skills. There has to be a willingness to do something new even if it’s hard at first.



10. Be Open to Feedback



Feedback is a necessary ingredient to learning. Don’t feel threatened by feedback. Pursue feedback. And use it to adapt and learn.



11. Develop Confidence in Your Ability to Learn



Most people are frightened by the thought of rapid change. But the adaptable learner feels a sense of confidence. When you believe in your ability to learn and solve problems, you view challenges as opportunities.



How are these characteristics being developed in your classroom or school? Are your students ready? Will they thrive in an unpredictable world? Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. I want to hear from you.

Read More 11 Powerful Characteristics of Adaptable Learners





Most of what is learned in the traditional approach to school is not adaptable learning. It is discrete learning. It’s focused on a specific body of knowledge and isn’t always transferable to new situations. Yesterday’s learning is in silos with distinct separation among the disciplines. It’s the type of learning that was useful in a world where you could train for a profession and be assured of relative stability in that profession for many years.



Gone are those days.



Our world is moving extremely fast. We can’t even fathom how fast things are changing. We’re too close to the change to get a sense of the magnitude. 



How can we deal with this increased complexity and uncertainty? Change is accelerating. And that creates a need for a different type of learning. In Future Driven, I write that adaptable learners will own the future.



So what makes an adaptable learner? Here are 11 characteristics.



1. Recognize Your Environment Is Constantly Changing



Adaptable learners are ready. They embrace change. It’s not just small changes we’re talking about. It’s a tidal wave of change that’s coming. Change is accelerating exponentially. You must be willing to adapt.



2. Reject Comfort and Complacency



You can’t adjust to the changes, meet the challenges, or take advantage of the opportunities without stepping out of your comfort zone.



3. Take Ownership of Results



It’s not helpful to blame poor outcomes on changing circumstances. The adaptable learner looks inward first to find solutions. There’s a stubbornness to find a way or make a way.



4. Show Willingness to Collaborate



No one person can have all the skills needed to meet the challenges of rapid change. But together, it’s possible to leverage our shared abilities for the good of our team.



5. Build Resilience and Perseverance



In an uncertain learning environment, there will be mistakes. It’s important to learn from these mistakes and press on. It’s critical to stay with difficult problems and try different solutions.



6. Demonstrate Care for Others



I believe adaptable learners are caring learners. People find better solutions when there is a larger purpose. When people are caring learners, it makes the learning meaningful.



7. Be Open to Changing Your Mind



No one has it all figured out. Have strong opinions loosely held. If presented with new evidence, be willing to take a new position.



8. Be Flexible in Your Methods, Focused on Your Mission



Our methods and practices must change with the times, but our process of adapting can continue. And ultimately, the mission can continue. 



9. Be Eager to Try New Things and Learn New Skills



Adaptable learners are constantly picking up new skills and adjusting previous skills. There has to be a willingness to do something new even if it’s hard at first.



10. Be Open to Feedback



Feedback is a necessary ingredient to learning. Don’t feel threatened by feedback. Pursue feedback. And use it to adapt and learn.



11. Develop Confidence in Your Ability to Learn



Most people are frightened by the thought of rapid change. But the adaptable learner feels a sense of confidence. When you believe in your ability to learn and solve problems, you view challenges as opportunities.



How are these characteristics being developed in your classroom or school? Are your students ready? Will they thrive in an unpredictable world? Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. I want to hear from you.

Read More 11 Powerful Characteristics of Adaptable Learners





Most of what is learned in the traditional approach to school is not adaptable learning. It is discrete learning. It’s focused on a specific body of knowledge and isn’t always transferable to new situations. Yesterday’s learning is in silos with distinct separation among the disciplines. It’s the type of learning that was useful in a world where you could train for a profession and be assured of relative stability in that profession for many years.



Gone are those days.



Our world is moving extremely fast. We can’t even fathom how fast things are changing. We’re too close to the change to get a sense of the magnitude. 



How can we deal with this increased complexity and uncertainty? Change is accelerating. And that creates a need for a different type of learning. In Future Driven, I write that adaptable learners will own the future.



So what makes an adaptable learner? Here are 11 characteristics.



1. Recognize Your Environment Is Constantly Changing



Adaptable learners are ready. They embrace change. It’s not just small changes we’re talking about. It’s a tidal wave of change that’s coming. Change is accelerating exponentially. You must be willing to adapt.



2. Reject Comfort and Complacency



You can’t adjust to the changes, meet the challenges, or take advantage of the opportunities without stepping out of your comfort zone.



3. Take Ownership of Results



It’s not helpful to blame poor outcomes on changing circumstances. The adaptable learner looks inward first to find solutions. There’s a stubbornness to find a way or make a way.



4. Show Willingness to Collaborate



No one person can have all the skills needed to meet the challenges of rapid change. But together, it’s possible to leverage our shared abilities for the good of our team.



5. Build Resilience and Perseverance



In an uncertain learning environment, there will be mistakes. It’s important to learn from these mistakes and press on. It’s critical to stay with difficult problems and try different solutions.



6. Demonstrate Care for Others



I believe adaptable learners are caring learners. People find better solutions when there is a larger purpose. When people are caring learners, it makes the learning meaningful.



7. Be Open to Changing Your Mind



No one has it all figured out. Have strong opinions loosely held. If presented with new evidence, be willing to take a new position.



8. Be Flexible in Your Methods, Focused on Your Mission



Our methods and practices must change with the times, but our process of adapting can continue. And ultimately, the mission can continue. 



9. Be Eager to Try New Things and Learn New Skills



Adaptable learners are constantly picking up new skills and adjusting previous skills. There has to be a willingness to do something new even if it’s hard at first.



10. Be Open to Feedback



Feedback is a necessary ingredient to learning. Don’t feel threatened by feedback. Pursue feedback. And use it to adapt and learn.



11. Develop Confidence in Your Ability to Learn



Most people are frightened by the thought of rapid change. But the adaptable learner feels a sense of confidence. When you believe in your ability to learn and solve problems, you view challenges as opportunities.



How are these characteristics being developed in your classroom or school? Are your students ready? Will they thrive in an unpredictable world? Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. I want to hear from you.

      

Read More 11 Powerful Characteristics of Adaptable Learners





Most of what is learned in the traditional approach to school is not adaptable learning. It is discrete learning. It’s focused on a specific body of knowledge and isn’t always transferable to new situations. Yesterday’s learning is in silos with distinct separation among the disciplines. It’s the type of learning that was useful in a world where you could train for a profession and be assured of relative stability in that profession for many years.



Gone are those days.



Our world is moving extremely fast. We can’t even fathom how fast things are changing. We’re too close to the change to get a sense of the magnitude. 



How can we deal with this increased complexity and uncertainty? Change is accelerating. And that creates a need for a different type of learning. In Future Driven, I write that adaptable learners will own the future.



So what makes an adaptable learner? Here are 11 characteristics.



1. Recognize Your Environment Is Constantly Changing



Adaptable learners are ready. They embrace change. It’s not just small changes we’re talking about. It’s a tidal wave of change that’s coming. Change is accelerating exponentially. You must be willing to adapt.



2. Reject Comfort and Complacency



You can’t adjust to the changes, meet the challenges, or take advantage of the opportunities without stepping out of your comfort zone.



3. Take Ownership of Results



It’s not helpful to blame poor outcomes on changing circumstances. The adaptable learner looks inward first to find solutions. There’s a stubbornness to find a way or make a way.



4. Show Willingness to Collaborate



No one person can have all the skills needed to meet the challenges of rapid change. But together, it’s possible to leverage our shared abilities for the good of our team.



5. Build Resilience and Perseverance



In an uncertain learning environment, there will be mistakes. It’s important to learn from these mistakes and press on. It’s critical to stay with difficult problems and try different solutions.



6. Demonstrate Care for Others



I believe adaptable learners are caring learners. People find better solutions when there is a larger purpose. When people are caring learners, it makes the learning meaningful.



7. Be Open to Changing Your Mind



No one has it all figured out. Have strong opinions loosely held. If presented with new evidence, be willing to take a new position.



8. Be Flexible in Your Methods, Focused on Your Mission



Our methods and practices must change with the times, but our process of adapting can continue. And ultimately, the mission can continue. 



9. Be Eager to Try New Things and Learn New Skills



Adaptable learners are constantly picking up new skills and adjusting previous skills. There has to be a willingness to do something new even if it’s hard at first.



10. Be Open to Feedback



Feedback is a necessary ingredient to learning. Don’t feel threatened by feedback. Pursue feedback. And use it to adapt and learn.



11. Develop Confidence in Your Ability to Learn



Most people are frightened by the thought of rapid change. But the adaptable learner feels a sense of confidence. When you believe in your ability to learn and solve problems, you view challenges as opportunities.



How are these characteristics being developed in your classroom or school? Are your students ready? Will they thrive in an unpredictable world? Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. I want to hear from you.

      

Read More 11 Powerful Characteristics of Adaptable Learners





I’m a big advocate of positive and productive change. If one thing is certain, it’s change. There will be change, and we must adapt. Our students must adapt. Our schools must adapt. The world is becoming more complex and uncertain, and that makes change even more imperative. 



But some things never change. Teaching principles, for instance, stand the test of time. Principles are fundamental truths. They are universal and unchanging at their core. These things should be the foundation of who we are and what we do as educators.



-Treat every child, every person, with dignity and respect.



-Make kindness a top concern.



-Communicate clear goals and objectives.



-Set high expectations.



-Believe the best of your students.



-Provide extraordinary learning experiences, not just lessons.



-Make learning relevant to time, place, and the individual.



-Persevere, push through obstacles, and never give up on a child.



-Recognize effort and progress.



-Consistently provide useful and meaningful feedback.



These things will not change. There may be some slight contextual ways that they change. But essentially, they are some of the fundamentals whether we look at education 50 years in the past or 50 years into the future.



But our practices are different. Our practices should be much different than 50 years ago. They should even be different than 5 years ago. They may be different tomorrow, based on our students’ needs. We must adapt our practices to the needs of the students we are working with today, right now. We need to adapt to the changes that are happening in the world right now as well.



Teaching practices are only effective in certain situations and change over time: grading, curriculum, technology, strategies, and lessons all must change to stay relevant.



So…



Be firm in your principles. They are your core beliefs.



Be flexible in your practices. They flow from your principles and are your actions today.



Be firm in your mission. It’s your purpose as an educator.



Be flexible in your methods. Your methods are how you achieve your purpose and may change with the situation.



How are you developing your principles and practices as an educator? Both are important. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More Be Firm in Your Principles. Be Flexible in Your Practices.





I’m a big advocate of positive and productive change. If one thing is certain, it’s change. There will be change, and we must adapt. Our students must adapt. Our schools must adapt. The world is becoming more complex and uncertain, and that makes change even more imperative. 



But some things never change. Teaching principles, for instance, stand the test of time. Principles are fundamental truths. They are universal and unchanging at their core. These things should be the foundation of who we are and what we do as educators.



-Treat every child, every person, with dignity and respect.



-Make kindness a top concern.



-Communicate clear goals and objectives.



-Set high expectations and make sure they are clear.



-Believe the best of your students.



-Provide extraordinary learning experiences, not just lessons.



-Make learning relevant to time, place, and the individual.



-Persevere, push through obstacles, and never give up on a child.



-Recognize effort and progress.



-Consistently provide useful and meaningful feedback.



These things will not change. There may be some slight contextual ways that they change. But essentially, they are some of the fundamentals whether we look at education 50 years in the past or 50 years into the future.



But our practices are different. Our practices should be much different than 50 years ago. They should even be different than 5 years ago. They may be different tomorrow, based on our students’ needs. We must adapt our practices to the needs of the students we are working with today, right now. We need to adapt to the changes that are happening in the world right now as well.



Teaching practices are only effective in certain situations and change over time: grading, curriculum, technology, strategies, and lessons all must change to stay relevant.



So…



Be firm in your principles. They are your core beliefs.



Be flexible in your practices. They flow from your principles and are your actions today.



Be firm in your mission. It’s your purpose as an educator.



Be flexible in your methods. Your methods are how you achieve your purpose and may change with the situation.



How are you developing your principles and practices as an educator? Both are important. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More Be Firm in Your Principles. Be Flexible in Your Practices.





I’m a big advocate of positive and productive change. If one thing is certain, it’s change. There will be change, and we must adapt. Our students must adapt. Our schools must adapt. The world is becoming more complex and uncertain, and that makes change even more imperative. 



But some things never change. Teaching principles, for instance, stand the test of time. Principles are fundamental truths. They are universal and unchanging at their core. These things should be the foundation of who we are and what we do as educators.



-Treat every child, every person, with dignity and respect.



-Make kindness a top concern.



-Communicate clear goals and objectives.



-Set high expectations.



-Believe the best of your students.



-Provide extraordinary learning experiences, not just lessons.



-Make learning relevant to time, place, and the individual.



-Persevere, push through obstacles, and never give up on a child.



-Recognize effort and progress.



-Consistently provide useful and meaningful feedback.



These things will not change. There may be some slight contextual ways that they change. But essentially, they are some of the fundamentals whether we look at education 50 years in the past or 50 years into the future.



But our practices are different. Our practices should be much different than 50 years ago. They should even be different than 5 years ago. They may be different tomorrow, based on our students’ needs. We must adapt our practices to the needs of the students we are working with today, right now. We need to adapt to the changes that are happening in the world right now as well.



Teaching practices are only effective in certain situations and change over time: grading, curriculum, technology, strategies, and lessons all must change to stay relevant.



So…



Be firm in your principles. They are your core beliefs.



Be flexible in your practices. They flow from your principles and are your actions today.



Be firm in your mission. It’s your purpose as an educator.



Be flexible in your methods. Your methods are how you achieve your purpose and may change with the situation.



How are you developing your principles and practices as an educator? Both are important. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More Be Firm in Your Principles. Be Flexible in Your Practices.





I’m a big advocate of positive and productive change. If one thing is certain, it’s change. There will be change, and we must adapt. Our students must adapt. Our schools must adapt. The world is becoming more complex and uncertain, and that makes change even more imperative. 



But some things never change. Teaching principles, for instance, stand the test of time. Principles are fundamental truths. They are universal and unchanging at their core. These things should be the foundation of who we are and what we do as educators.



-Treat every child, every person, with dignity and respect.



-Make kindness a top concern.



-Communicate clear goals and objectives.



-Set high expectations.



-Believe the best of your students.



-Provide extraordinary learning experiences, not just lessons.



-Make learning relevant to time, place, and the individual.



-Persevere, push through obstacles, and never give up on a child.



-Recognize effort and progress.



-Consistently provide useful and meaningful feedback.



These things will not change. There may be some slight contextual ways that they change. But essentially, they are some of the fundamentals whether we look at education 50 years in the past or 50 years into the future.



But our practices are different. Our practices should be much different than 50 years ago. They should even be different than 5 years ago. They may be different tomorrow, based on our students’ needs. We must adapt our practices to the needs of the students we are working with today, right now. We need to adapt to the changes that are happening in the world right now as well.



Teaching practices are only effective in certain situations and change over time: grading, curriculum, technology, strategies, and lessons all must change to stay relevant.



So…



Be firm in your principles. They are your core beliefs.



Be flexible in your practices. They flow from your principles and are your actions today.



Be firm in your mission. It’s your purpose as an educator.



Be flexible in your methods. Your methods are how you achieve your purpose and may change with the situation.



How are you developing your principles and practices as an educator? Both are important. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

      

Read More Be Firm in Your Principles. Be Flexible in Your Practices.





I’m a big advocate of positive and productive change. If one thing is certain, it’s change. There will be change, and we must adapt. Our students must adapt. Our schools must adapt. The world is becoming more complex and uncertain, and that makes change even more imperative. 



But some things never change. Teaching principles, for instance, stand the test of time. Principles are fundamental truths. They are universal and unchanging at their core. These things should be the foundation of who we are and what we do as educators.



-Treat every child, every person, with dignity and respect.



-Make kindness a top concern.



-Communicate clear goals and objectives.



-Set high expectations.



-Believe the best of your students.



-Provide extraordinary learning experiences, not just lessons.



-Make learning relevant to time, place, and the individual.



-Persevere, push through obstacles, and never give up on a child.



-Recognize effort and progress.



-Consistently provide useful and meaningful feedback.



These things will not change. There may be some slight contextual ways that they change. But essentially, they are some of the fundamentals whether we look at education 50 years in the past or 50 years into the future.



But our practices are different. Our practices should be much different than 50 years ago. They should even be different than 5 years ago. They may be different tomorrow, based on our students’ needs. We must adapt our practices to the needs of the students we are working with today, right now. We need to adapt to the changes that are happening in the world right now as well.



Teaching practices are only effective in certain situations and change over time: grading, curriculum, technology, strategies, and lessons all must change to stay relevant.



So…



Be firm in your principles. They are your core beliefs.



Be flexible in your practices. They flow from your principles and are your actions today.



Be firm in your mission. It’s your purpose as an educator.



Be flexible in your methods. Your methods are how you achieve your purpose and may change with the situation.



How are you developing your principles and practices as an educator? Both are important. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

      

Read More Be Firm in Your Principles. Be Flexible in Your Practices.





I’m a big advocate of positive and productive change. If one thing is certain, it’s change. There will be change, and we must adapt. Our students must adapt. Our schools must adapt. The world is becoming more complex and uncertain, and that makes change even more imperative. 



But some things never change. Teaching principles, for instance, stand the test of time. Principles are fundamental truths. They are universal and unchanging at their core. These things should be the foundation of who we are and what we do as educators.



-Treat every child, every person, with dignity and respect.



-Make kindness a top concern.



-Communicate clear goals and objectives.



-Set high expectations.



-Believe the best of your students.



-Provide extraordinary learning experiences, not just lessons.



-Make learning relevant to time, place, and the individual.



-Persevere, push through obstacles, and never give up on a child.



-Recognize effort and progress.



-Consistently provide useful and meaningful feedback.



These things will not change. There may be some slight contextual ways that they change. But essentially, they are some of the fundamentals whether we look at education 50 years in the past or 50 years into the future.



But our practices are different. Our practices should be much different than 50 years ago. They should even be different than 5 years ago. They may be different tomorrow, based on our students’ needs. We must adapt our practices to the needs of the students we are working with today, right now. We need to adapt to the changes that are happening in the world right now as well.



Teaching practices are only effective in certain situations and change over time: grading, curriculum, technology, strategies, and lessons all must change to stay relevant.



So…



Be firm in your principles. They are your core beliefs.



Be flexible in your practices. They flow from your principles and are your actions today.



Be firm in your mission. It’s your purpose as an educator.



Be flexible in your methods. Your methods are how you achieve your purpose and may change with the situation.



How are you developing your principles and practices as an educator? Both are important. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

      

Read More Be Firm in Your Principles. Be Flexible in Your Practices.




Passion and proficiency. Both are important. But what’s your priority? What comes first? Some teachers know their content, have great strategies, and work hard every day. And yet they aren’t getting the results they hope for.



In Future Driven, I wrote about the importance of rekindling passion in an accountability era where proficiency has been prioritized to the detriment of everything else.

“More than proficiency, we need passion. We need people who are passionate about life, solving problems, helping others, and doing amazing work. Passionate people aren’t just concerned what’s in it for them. They don’t want someone to take care of them, to create a job for them, or make it easy for them. They want to make a difference in the world. They want their life to count.

Proficiency is about cheap labor, following the rules, being an interchangeable part. It’s following the map, taking orders, playing it safe. In school, it’s being ready for the next grade level or for college. These aren’t bad things. But it’s not what allows us to use all of our gifts.” 

If we are going to crush apathy in our schools and create learning that’s irresistible, it won’t happen by doubling down our efforts to reach proficiency. We have to start by developing environments where students can rekindle what it means to be a passionate learner.



After all, they came to us this way, right? When kids entered school for the first time, they were filled with curiosity, creativity, and hope. They came to us with these qualities so shouldn’t they leave us with them also?



So what can you do to create that passionate learning culture in your classroom?



1. Model passionate learning yourself. Be curious yourself. Learn rights alongside your students. Your energy, enthusiasm, and excitement towards learning will make a huge difference for your students.



2. Focus more on developing interesting questions, engaging in deeper and better thinking, and making meaning with your students. Some things are more valuable than getting right answers. Intellectual curiosity is exciting if it isn’t crushed by fear of getting the wrong answer. Let’s start with questions.



3. Connect learning to making a difference. Give students ways to learn that will impact their family, their community, a global society. Help students make a difference now. We aren’t just preparing leaders for the future. Kids need opportunities to lead and make a difference now.



4. Connect learning to creativity. Passionate learning involves creating something new, not just regurgitating established information. Creativity allow us to connect who we are to what we are learning. We are creative beings. We need opportunities to create.



5. Connect learning to emotion. Developing our cognitive abilities needs to go hand in hand with developing our emotional abilities. Let’s work on developing conditions where learning connects to the heart and not just to the mind. I’m not sure where it originated but I love this quote, “Information without emotion is rarely retained.”

Hugh Macleod (@hughcards) shared this bit on his Twitter feed. It captures so much truth in such a simple visual. The world is rapidly changing. The type of work and the value of different kinds of work is also rapidly changing.



Proficiency won’t help you compete with robots or zombies. They know their stuff. They have the market cornered on proficiency. But they can’t go deeper. They’re soulless. If you want to be great, you have to be an artist. Not necessarily an artist who paints, or sculpts, or writes poetry. But you have to offer more from your humanity than a zombie is willing to give or a robot is able to give.


So here’s the challenge. If your students are mostly doing robot work or zombie work in school, how are they going to be ready to do art work in a world that demands it? 


As our world becomes increasingly automated and technological, our students are going to gain the greatest advantage not just by their proficiency, but by their ability to leverage emotional labor to produce great work. 




Is proficiency still important? Absolutely. But if we keep pursuing proficiency to the exclusion of what’s most important, we are doing our children a terrible disservice. 


What are your thoughts on passion vs. proficiency? If we generated more passionate learning, would proficiency take care of itself? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More What’s Your Priority? Passion or Proficiency