Tag: Influence



Strong leaders have strong visions for their schools. They feel a constant tension between how things are and how they could be. And leaders want to see progress toward the vision. And progress toward the vision is great, but it comes at a cost if leaders aren’t careful.



People must never feel diminished at the expense of the vision.



I would challenge leaders to consider this question. Why do you provide learning opportunities for your teachers? I’m guessing the most common answer would be it’s for the kids and their learning. 



That’s a noble goal, right?



It’s to help teachers be better so kids can learn more too. It’s to move the school forward toward the vision. We have important work to do to be the best we can be, so the kids can be the best they can be.



But here’s the translation for many teachers: My current work is not appreciated here. It’s never good enough. You’re always trying to squeeze more out of me. I’m doing all I can and now you’re adding to my plate. My work is not valued here. I feel like I’m being pushed in directions I don’t even know if I want to go.



But what if we approached professional learning from a different perspective? What if school leadership focused more on serving teachers and meeting their needs? What if professional learning was more about growing the teacher and not about better test scores or some other outcome?



Let’s create a culture of professional learning that values teachers. Let’s start with this idea. We want to provide experiences that help teachers get the most out of their work. We want to provide experiences that help you achieve your greatest fulfillment as a teacher. 



We want to provide experiences that offer the highest return on your investment as an educator. 



That’s servant leadership. Helping others make a greater impact and find more fulfillment in what they are doing. It’s not about squeezing more out of the individual for the sake of the school, the test scores, or even for the kids. It’s not about winning at the SMART goals game.



But those things will probably improve too as teachers feel more appreciated, find more fulfillment, and sense they are getting a higher return on their investment as an educator.



There’s nothing wrong with leaders asking more of the people they lead. That’s what good leaders do. They challenge people to grow their capacity and to use their capacity to the fullest.



But start with why. Reflect on your own motives. Why are you asking more? It has to be to care for your team. Love your team. It has to be for the benefit of each individual first. Help them reach their goals. Help them feel a greater sense of accomplishment. Give them a sense of their own talent, progress, and strengths.



The best leaders are constantly affirming the work that is being done. They are recognizing the strengths and contributions of each team member. The vision is realized as a result of valuing people, encouraging them, and supporting them all along the way.



Leaders: When we ask teachers to risk more and to give more, are we also giving more and risking more for teachers?



The vision for your school is important, but the vision is meaningless if performance is more important than people.



What are some ways you are risking more for you colleagues, caring for them, and increasing the return on investment for others? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More Don’t Ask For More Until You’re Willing to Risk More



Strong leaders have strong visions for their schools. They feel a constant tension between how things are and how they could be. And leaders want to see progress toward the vision. And progress toward the vision is great, but it comes at a cost if leaders aren’t careful.



People must never feel diminished at the expense of the vision.



I would challenge leaders to consider this question. Why do you provide learning opportunities for your teachers? I’m guessing the most common answer would be it’s for the kids and their learning. 



That’s a noble goal, right?



It’s to help teachers be better so kids can learn more too. It’s to move the school forward toward the vision. We have important work to do to be the best we can be, so the kids can be the best they can be.



But here’s the translation for many teachers: My current work is not appreciated here. It’s never good enough. You’re always trying to squeeze more out of me. I’m doing all I can and now you’re adding to my plate. My work is not valued here. I feel like I’m being pushed in directions I don’t even know if I want to go.



But what if we approached professional learning from a different perspective? What if school leadership focused more on serving teachers and meeting their needs? What if professional learning was more about growing the teacher and not about better test scores or some other outcome?



Let’s create a culture of professional learning that values teachers. Let’s start with this idea. We want to provide experiences that help teachers get the most out of their work. We want to provide experiences that help you achieve your greatest fulfillment as a teacher. 



We want to provide experiences that offer the highest return on your investment as an educator. 



That’s servant leadership. Helping others make a greater impact and find more fulfillment in what they are doing. It’s not about squeezing more out of the individual for the sake of the school, the test scores, or even for the kids. It’s not about winning at the SMART goals game.



But those things will probably improve too as teachers feel more appreciated, find more fulfillment, and sense they are getting a higher return on their investment as an educator.



There’s nothing wrong with leaders asking more of the people they lead. That’s what good leaders do. They challenge people to grow their capacity and to use their capacity to the fullest.



But start with why. Reflect on your own motives. Why are you asking more? It has to be to care for your team. Love your team. It has to be for the benefit of each individual first. Help them reach their goals. Help them feel a greater sense of accomplishment. Give them a sense of their own talent, progress, and strengths.



The best leaders are constantly affirming the work that is being done. They are recognizing the strengths and contributions of each team member. The vision is realized as a result of valuing people, encouraging them, and supporting them all along the way.



Leaders: When we ask teachers to risk more and to give more, are we also giving more and risking more for teachers?



The vision for your school is important, but the vision is meaningless if performance is more important than people.



What are some ways you are risking more for you colleagues, caring for them, and increasing the return on investment for others? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More Don’t Ask For More Until You’re Willing to Risk More



Strong leaders have strong visions for their schools. They feel a constant tension between how things are and how they could be. And leaders want to see progress toward the vision. And progress toward the vision is great, but it comes at a cost if leaders aren’t careful.



People must never feel diminished at the expense of the vision.



I would challenge leaders to consider this question. Why do you provide learning opportunities for your teachers? I’m guessing the most common answer would be it’s for the kids and their learning. 



That’s a noble goal, right?



It’s to help teachers be better so kids can learn more too. It’s to move the school forward toward the vision. We have important work to do to be the best we can be, so the kids can be the best they can be.



But here’s the translation for many teachers: My current work is not appreciated here. It’s never good enough. You’re always trying to squeeze more out of me. I’m doing all I can and now you’re adding to my plate. My work is not valued here. I feel like I’m being pushed in directions I don’t even know if I want to go.



But what if we approached professional learning from a different perspective? What if school leadership focused more on serving teachers and meeting their needs? What if professional learning was more about growing the teacher and not about better test scores or some other outcome?



Let’s create a culture of professional learning that values teachers. Let’s start with this idea. We want to provide experiences that help teachers get the most out of their work. We want to provide experiences that help you achieve your greatest fulfillment as a teacher. 



We want to provide experiences that offer the highest return on your investment as an educator. 



That’s servant leadership. Helping others make a greater impact and find more fulfillment in what they are doing. It’s not about squeezing more out of the individual for the sake of the school, the test scores, or even for the kids. It’s not about winning at the SMART goals game.



But those things will probably improve too as teachers feel more appreciated, find more fulfillment, and sense they are getting a higher return on their investment as an educator.



There’s nothing wrong with leaders asking more of the people they lead. That’s what good leaders do. They challenge people to grow their capacity and to use their capacity to the fullest.



But start with why. Reflect on your own motives. Why are you asking more? It has to be to care for your team. Love your team. It has to be for the benefit of each individual first. Help them reach their goals. Help them feel a greater sense of accomplishment. Give them a sense of their own talent, progress, and strengths.



The best leaders are constantly affirming the work that is being done. They are recognizing the strengths and contributions of each team member. The vision is realized as a result of valuing people, encouraging them, and supporting them all along the way.



Leaders: When we ask teachers to risk more and to give more, are we also giving more and risking more for teachers?



The vision for your school is important, but the vision is meaningless if performance is more important than people.



What are some ways you are risking more for you colleagues, caring for them, and increasing the return on investment for others? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

      

Read More Don’t Ask For More Until You’re Willing to Risk More



Strong leaders have strong visions for their schools. They feel a constant tension between how things are and how they could be. And leaders want to see progress toward the vision. And progress toward the vision is great, but it comes at a cost if leaders aren’t careful.



People must never feel diminished at the expense of the vision.



I would challenge leaders to consider this question. Why do you provide learning opportunities for your teachers? I’m guessing the most common answer would be it’s for the kids and their learning. 



That’s a noble goal, right?



It’s to help teachers be better so kids can learn more too. It’s to move the school forward toward the vision. We have important work to do to be the best we can be, so the kids can be the best they can be.



But here’s the translation for many teachers: My current work is not appreciated here. It’s never good enough. You’re always trying to squeeze more out of me. I’m doing all I can and now you’re adding to my plate. My work is not valued here. I feel like I’m being pushed in directions I don’t even know if I want to go.



But what if we approached professional learning from a different perspective? What if school leadership focused more on serving teachers and meeting their needs? What if professional learning was more about growing the teacher and not about better test scores or some other outcome?



Let’s create a culture of professional learning that values teachers. Let’s start with this idea. We want to provide experiences that help teachers get the most out of their work. We want to provide experiences that help you achieve your greatest fulfillment as a teacher. 



We want to provide experiences that offer the highest return on your investment as an educator. 



That’s servant leadership. Helping others make a greater impact and find more fulfillment in what they are doing. It’s not about squeezing more out of the individual for the sake of the school, the test scores, or even for the kids. It’s not about winning at the SMART goals game.



But those things will probably improve too as teachers feel more appreciated, find more fulfillment, and sense they are getting a higher return on their investment as an educator.



There’s nothing wrong with leaders asking more of the people they lead. That’s what good leaders do. They challenge people to grow their capacity and to use their capacity to the fullest.



But start with why. Reflect on your own motives. Why are you asking more? It has to be to care for your team. Love your team. It has to be for the benefit of each individual first. Help them reach their goals. Help them feel a greater sense of accomplishment. Give them a sense of their own talent, progress, and strengths.



The best leaders are constantly affirming the work that is being done. They are recognizing the strengths and contributions of each team member. The vision is realized as a result of valuing people, encouraging them, and supporting them all along the way.



Leaders: When we ask teachers to risk more and to give more, are we also giving more and risking more for teachers?



The vision for your school is important, but the vision is meaningless if performance is more important than people.



What are some ways you are risking more for you colleagues, caring for them, and increasing the return on investment for others? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

      

Read More Don’t Ask For More Until You’re Willing to Risk More





There’s been some push back recently on Twitter against the whole idea of positive attitude as a good thing. It gave me some things to think about, because in general, I’ve found a positive mindset to be a source of strength in my life. I’ve even written several posts about positive thinking, including this one:

10 Thoughts On Positive Attitude to Share With Your Team

A positive school is built on positive moments. It doesn’t just happen by accident. Every interaction counts. It takes a concerted effort on the part of everyone to create an environment that is awesome. So what are some things everyone should know to be more positive in their own mindset and help contribute to that positive environment we all want?

How could someone not be in favor of having a positive outlook? I was curious and a little puzzled by some of the responses I’ve seen to the idea of having a positive attitude. I wanted to know more.



So here are some of the arguments I’ve seen. Keep in mind I’m doing my best to synthesize, so if you’re in the anti-positive thinking camp, let me know if I’m missing the point.



1. Calls for a positive attitude are one way the dominant culture silences critics and those with opposing viewpoints. By asking me to have a positive attitude, you are refusing to acknowledge my experience and my suffering. I’m not allowed to speak my mind or share my experience without being labeled a negative person.



2. Positive thinking is not the solution to mental health issues. To the contrary, it’s part of the mental health crisis. It’s no longer okay to feel negative emotions like sadness, fear, isolation, hopelessness, or anger. If you feel those emotions, you’re not being positive, and that’s not okay.  The pressure to feel positive all the time is too much, and so when I don’t, I feel further devalued and unable to measure up.



3. Sharing positive thoughts is empty of meaning. It’s not doing the real work of challenging injustice or working to understand those who are oppressed or those who are suffering. Instead of sharing something “positive,” share something that demands justice or calls out oppressive forces. In other words, raise some hell to demand change. That’s doing something positive.



I think those are some really good reasons to push back against positive thinking, if you define and understand being positive in a certain way. I think there are some nuances to the idea of being positive that are important for the idea to work, otherwise it’s just a thought that we should all be happy all the time, and that’s just not helpful.



Here’s how I would respond to the three concerns about positive thinking.



1. Being positive doesn’t mean everyone has to be agreeable and have the same opinions. But it does mean we express our opinions in ways that are productive and helpful. In a school, leaders need to encourage productive conflict and invite critical dialogue. I want people around me to push my thinking and challenge my ideas. That’s how we get better. 



But I’m guessing…in some cases, leaders are silencing voices who are simply expressing a different viewpoint and using positive attitude as the reason. Either you agree with me or you obviously don’t have a positive attitude? It’s one or the other. That type of thinking is not effective.



2. Being positive doesn’t mean you’re happy all the time. I think believing you should be happy all the time does result in complications to mental health. We need to feel all our feelings, the positive and negative ones. The truth is none of our feeling are truly negative. They’re not bad. They’re just feelings. They come and go. And as humans, all of them are legitimate. Being positive is the ability to experience the array of human emotions and respond to them in ways that are helpful. 



In response to every emotion, we have the choice in what we do with it. How do we hold that emotion in our mind and how do we think about it? Do we listen to what our emotions tell us and let them take us down whatever path they choose? Or, do we choose the path for our emotions? Do we point them in a direction we want them to go? We’re not repressing them or denying them. It’s important to fully acknowledge how we feel, but then choose to use that emotion as fuel to go in some positive direction in life. I’m going to use this pain or sorrow for good in this certain way.



Of course, this is always a process. There are times I do not handle my emotions in productive ways. And that results in strain on my relationships or sticky situations as a leader. I’ve often had to apologize for times I allowed my emotions to choose the path.



3. Sharing positive thoughts are empty of meaning if they are empty of meaning. But they don’t have to be. In fact, the person who can communicate difficult, hard truths in a positive way is a wise person. There is wisdom and strength in communicating a difficult message in a way that doesn’t offend or alienate. That’s making an effort to have dialogue and not a shouting match. I see no benefit to a shouting match. Neither side is really listening. Nothing productive is resulting from this exchange.



And yet, that is how most people seem to be handling conversations these days in regard to our most pressing issues. It’s evident all over social media. There is no dialogue. There is no civility. Each side hurls insults, snide remarks, insulting labels, and believes they have the moral high ground. Our way is the right way!!!



It makes me sad when I see educators fall into this same type of behavior. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed more destructive posts like this recently from educators. We have an obligation to set a good example for our students every day in our classrooms, and also on social media. We have an obligation to do our very best, all the time, to be respectful and positive with our words and actions.



At the same time, it’s never okay to silence an opposing viewpoint on the grounds that the person needs to be positive. It’s okay to ask someone to communicate respectfully. But it’s not okay to silence someone who disagrees.



Let me know your thoughts on all of this. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. I always enjoy hearing from you.

Read More Is Positivity an Excuse for Silencing Opposing Viewpoints?





There’s been some push back recently on Twitter against the whole idea of positive attitude as a good thing. It gave me some things to think about, because in general, I’ve found a positive mindset to be a source of strength in my life. I’ve even written several posts about positive thinking, including this one:

10 Thoughts On Positive Attitude to Share With Your Team

A positive school is built on positive moments. It doesn’t just happen by accident. Every interaction counts. It takes a concerted effort on the part of everyone to create an environment that is awesome. So what are some things everyone should know to be more positive in their own mindset and help contribute to that positive environment we all want?

How could someone not be in favor of having a positive outlook? I was curious and a little puzzled by some of the responses I’ve seen to the idea of having a positive attitude. I wanted to know more.



So here are some of the arguments I’ve seen. Keep in mind I’m doing my best to synthesize, so if you’re in the anti-positive thinking camp, let me know if I’m missing the point.



1. Calls for a positive attitude are one way the dominant culture silences critics and those with opposing viewpoints. By asking me to have a positive attitude, you are refusing to acknowledge my experience and my suffering. I’m not allowed to speak my mind or share my experience without being labeled a negative person.



2. Positive thinking is not the solution to mental health issues. To the contrary, it’s part of the mental health crisis. It’s no longer okay to feel negative emotions like sadness, fear, isolation, hopelessness, or anger. If you feel those emotions, you’re not being positive, and that’s not okay.  The pressure to feel positive all the time is too much, and so when I don’t, I feel further devalued and unable to measure up.



3. Sharing positive thoughts is empty of meaning. It’s not doing the real work of challenging injustice or working to understand those who are oppressed or those who are suffering. Instead of sharing something “positive,” share something that demands justice or calls out oppressive forces. In other words, raise some hell to demand change. That’s doing something positive.



I think those are some really good reasons to push back against positive thinking, if you define and understand being positive in a certain way. I think there are some nuances to the idea of being positive that are important for the idea to work, otherwise it’s just a thought that we should all be happy all the time, and that’s just not helpful.



Here’s how I would respond to the three concerns about positive thinking.



1. Being positive doesn’t mean everyone has to be agreeable and have the same opinions. But it does mean we express our opinions in ways that are productive and helpful. In a school, leaders need to encourage productive conflict and invite critical dialogue. I want people around me to push my thinking and challenge my ideas. That’s how we get better. 



But I’m guessing…in some cases, leaders are silencing voices who are simply expressing a different viewpoint and using positive attitude as the reason. Either you agree with me or you obviously don’t have a positive attitude? It’s one or the other. That type of thinking is not effective.



2. Being positive doesn’t mean you’re happy all the time. I think believing you should be happy all the time does result in complications to mental health. We need to feel all our feelings, the positive and negative ones. The truth is none of our feeling are truly negative. They’re not bad. They’re just feelings. They come and go. And as humans, all of them are legitimate. Being positive is the ability to experience the array of human emotions and respond to them in ways that are helpful. 



In response to every emotion, we have the choice in what we do with it. How do we hold that emotion in our mind and how do we think about it? Do we listen to what our emotions tell us and let them take us down whatever path they choose? Or, do we choose the path for our emotions? Do we point them in a direction we want them to go? We’re not repressing them or denying them. It’s important to fully acknowledge how we feel, but then choose to use that emotion as fuel to go in some positive direction in life. I’m going to use this pain or sorrow for good in this certain way.



Of course, this is always a process. There are times I do not handle my emotions in productive ways. And that results in strain on my relationships or sticky situations as a leader. I’ve often had to apologize for times I allowed my emotions to choose the path.



3. Sharing positive thoughts are empty of meaning if they are empty of meaning. But they don’t have to be. In fact, the person who can communicate difficult, hard truths in a positive way is a wise person. There is wisdom and strength in communicating a difficult message in a way that doesn’t offend or alienate. That’s making an effort to have dialogue and not a shouting match. I see no benefit to a shouting match. Neither side is really listening. Nothing productive is resulting from this exchange.



And yet, that is how most people seem to be handling conversations these days in regard to our most pressing issues. It’s evident all over social media. There is no dialogue. There is no civility. Each side hurls insults, snide remarks, insulting labels, and believes they have the moral high ground. Our way is the right way!!!



It makes me sad when I see educators fall into this same type of behavior. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed more destructive posts like this recently from educators. We have an obligation to set a good example for our students every day in our classrooms, and also on social media. We have an obligation to do our very best, all the time, to be respectful and positive with our words and actions.



At the same time, it’s never okay to silence an opposing viewpoint on the grounds that the person needs to be positive. It’s okay to ask someone to communicate respectfully. But it’s not okay to silence someone who disagrees.



Let me know your thoughts on all of this. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. I always enjoy hearing from you.

Read More Is Positivity an Excuse for Silencing Opposing Viewpoints?





There’s been some push back recently on Twitter against the whole idea of positive attitude as a good thing. It gave me some things to think about, because in general, I’ve found a positive mindset to be a source of strength in my life. I’ve even written several posts about positive thinking, including this one:

10 Thoughts On Positive Attitude to Share With Your Team

A positive school is built on positive moments. It doesn’t just happen by accident. Every interaction counts. It takes a concerted effort on the part of everyone to create an environment that is awesome. So what are some things everyone should know to be more positive in their own mindset and help contribute to that positive environment we all want?

How could someone not be in favor of having a positive outlook? I was curious and a little puzzled by some of the responses I’ve seen to the idea of having a positive attitude. I wanted to know more.



So here are some of the arguments I’ve seen. Keep in mind I’m doing my best to synthesize, so if you’re in the anti-positive thinking camp, let me know if I’m missing the point.



1. Calls for a positive attitude are one way the dominant culture silences critics and those with opposing viewpoints. By asking me to have a positive attitude, you are refusing to acknowledge my experience and my suffering. I’m not allowed to speak my mind or share my experience without being labeled a negative person.



2. Positive thinking is not the solution to mental health issues. To the contrary, it’s part of the mental health crisis. It’s no longer okay to feel negative emotions like sadness, fear, isolation, hopelessness, or anger. If you feel those emotions, you’re not being positive, and that’s not okay.  The pressure to feel positive all the time is too much, and so when I don’t, I feel further devalued and unable to measure up.



3. Sharing positive thoughts is empty of meaning. It’s not doing the real work of challenging injustice or working to understand those who are oppressed or those who are suffering. Instead of sharing something “positive,” share something that demands justice or calls out oppressive forces. In other words, raise some hell to demand change. That’s doing something positive.



I think those are some really good reasons to push back against positive thinking, if you define and understand being positive in a certain way. I think there are some nuances to the idea of being positive that are important for the idea to work, otherwise it’s just a thought that we should all be happy all the time, and that’s just not helpful.



Here’s how I would respond to the three concerns about positive thinking.



1. Being positive doesn’t mean everyone has to be agreeable and have the same opinions. But it does mean we express our opinions in ways that are productive and helpful. In a school, leaders need to encourage productive conflict and invite critical dialogue. I want people around me to push my thinking and challenge my ideas. That’s how we get better. 



But I’m guessing…in some cases, leaders are silencing voices who are simply expressing a different viewpoint and using positive attitude as the reason. Either you agree with me or you obviously don’t have a positive attitude? It’s one or the other. That type of thinking is not effective.



2. Being positive doesn’t mean you’re happy all the time. I think believing you should be happy all the time does result in complications to mental health. We need to feel all our feelings, the positive and negative ones. The truth is none of our feeling are truly negative. They’re not bad. They’re just feelings. They come and go. And as humans, all of them are legitimate. Being positive is the ability to experience the array of human emotions and respond to them in ways that are helpful. 



In response to every emotion, we have the choice in what we do with it. How do we hold that emotion in our mind and how do we think about it? Do we listen to what our emotions tell us and let them take us down whatever path they choose? Or, do we choose the path for our emotions? Do we point them in a direction we want them to go? We’re not repressing them or denying them. It’s important to fully acknowledge how we feel, but then choose to use that emotion as fuel to go in some positive direction in life. I’m going to use this pain or sorrow for good in this certain way.



Of course, this is always a process. There are times I do not handle my emotions in productive ways. And that results in strain on my relationships or sticky situations as a leader. I’ve often had to apologize for times I allowed my emotions to choose the path.



3. Sharing positive thoughts are empty of meaning if they are empty of meaning. But they don’t have to be. In fact, the person who can communicate difficult, hard truths in a positive way is a wise person. There is wisdom and strength in communicating a difficult message in a way that doesn’t offend or alienate. That’s making an effort to have dialogue and not a shouting match. I see no benefit to a shouting match. Neither side is really listening. Nothing productive is resulting from this exchange.



And yet, that is how most people seem to be handling conversations these days in regard to our most pressing issues. It’s evident all over social media. There is no dialogue. There is no civility. Each side hurls insults, snide remarks, insulting labels, and believes they have the moral high ground. Our way is the right way!!!



It makes me sad when I see educators fall into this same type of behavior. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed more destructive posts like this recently from educators. We have an obligation to set a good example for our students every day in our classrooms, and also on social media. We have an obligation to do our very best, all the time, to be respectful and positive with our words and actions.



At the same time, it’s never okay to silence an opposing viewpoint on the grounds that the person needs to be positive. It’s okay to ask someone to communicate respectfully. But it’s not okay to silence someone who disagrees.



Let me know your thoughts on all of this. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. I always enjoy hearing from you.

      

Read More Is Positivity an Excuse for Silencing Opposing Viewpoints?





There’s been some push back recently on Twitter against the whole idea of positive attitude as a good thing. It gave me some things to think about, because in general, I’ve found a positive mindset to be a source of strength in my life. I’ve even written several posts about positive thinking, including this one:

10 Thoughts On Positive Attitude to Share With Your Team

A positive school is built on positive moments. It doesn’t just happen by accident. Every interaction counts. It takes a concerted effort on the part of everyone to create an environment that is awesome. So what are some things everyone should know to be more positive in their own mindset and help contribute to that positive environment we all want?

How could someone not be in favor of having a positive outlook? I was curious and a little puzzled by some of the responses I’ve seen to the idea of having a positive attitude. I wanted to know more.



So here are some of the arguments I’ve seen. Keep in mind I’m doing my best to synthesize, so if you’re in the anti-positive thinking camp, let me know if I’m missing the point.



1. Calls for a positive attitude are one way the dominant culture silences critics and those with opposing viewpoints. By asking me to have a positive attitude, you are refusing to acknowledge my experience and my suffering. I’m not allowed to speak my mind or share my experience without being labeled a negative person.



2. Positive thinking is not the solution to mental health issues. To the contrary, it’s part of the mental health crisis. It’s no longer okay to feel negative emotions like sadness, fear, isolation, hopelessness, or anger. If you feel those emotions, you’re not being positive, and that’s not okay.  The pressure to feel positive all the time is too much, and so when I don’t, I feel further devalued and unable to measure up.



3. Sharing positive thoughts is empty of meaning. It’s not doing the real work of challenging injustice or working to understand those who are oppressed or those who are suffering. Instead of sharing something “positive,” share something that demands justice or calls out oppressive forces. In other words, raise some hell to demand change. That’s doing something positive.



I think those are some really good reasons to push back against positive thinking, if you define and understand being positive in a certain way. I think there are some nuances to the idea of being positive that are important for the idea to work, otherwise it’s just a thought that we should all be happy all the time, and that’s just not helpful.



Here’s how I would respond to the three concerns about positive thinking.



1. Being positive doesn’t mean everyone has to be agreeable and have the same opinions. But it does mean we express our opinions in ways that are productive and helpful. In a school, leaders need to encourage productive conflict and invite critical dialogue. I want people around me to push my thinking and challenge my ideas. That’s how we get better. 



But I’m guessing…in some cases, leaders are silencing voices who are simply expressing a different viewpoint and using positive attitude as the reason. Either you agree with me or you obviously don’t have a positive attitude? It’s one or the other. That type of thinking is not effective.



2. Being positive doesn’t mean you’re happy all the time. I think believing you should be happy all the time does result in complications to mental health. We need to feel all our feelings, the positive and negative ones. The truth is none of our feeling are truly negative. They’re not bad. They’re just feelings. They come and go. And as humans, all of them are legitimate. Being positive is the ability to experience the array of human emotions and respond to them in ways that are helpful. 



In response to every emotion, we have the choice in what we do with it. How do we hold that emotion in our mind and how do we think about it? Do we listen to what our emotions tell us and let them take us down whatever path they choose? Or, do we choose the path for our emotions? Do we point them in a direction we want them to go? We’re not repressing them or denying them. It’s important to fully acknowledge how we feel, but then choose to use that emotion as fuel to go in some positive direction in life. I’m going to use this pain or sorrow for good in this certain way.



Of course, this is always a process. There are times I do not handle my emotions in productive ways. And that results in strain on my relationships or sticky situations as a leader. I’ve often had to apologize for times I allowed my emotions to choose the path.



3. Sharing positive thoughts are empty of meaning if they are empty of meaning. But they don’t have to be. In fact, the person who can communicate difficult, hard truths in a positive way is a wise person. There is wisdom and strength in communicating a difficult message in a way that doesn’t offend or alienate. That’s making an effort to have dialogue and not a shouting match. I see no benefit to a shouting match. Neither side is really listening. Nothing productive is resulting from this exchange.



And yet, that is how most people seem to be handling conversations these days in regard to our most pressing issues. It’s evident all over social media. There is no dialogue. There is no civility. Each side hurls insults, snide remarks, insulting labels, and believes they have the moral high ground. Our way is the right way!!!



It makes me sad when I see educators fall into this same type of behavior. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed more destructive posts like this recently from educators. We have an obligation to set a good example for our students every day in our classrooms, and also on social media. We have an obligation to do our very best, all the time, to be respectful and positive with our words and actions.



At the same time, it’s never okay to silence an opposing viewpoint on the grounds that the person needs to be positive. It’s okay to ask someone to communicate respectfully. But it’s not okay to silence someone who disagrees.



Let me know your thoughts on all of this. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. I always enjoy hearing from you.

      

Read More Is Positivity an Excuse for Silencing Opposing Viewpoints?





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





Every teenager is motivated. Every student is motivated. Every teacher. Every parent. Every person is 100% motivated. That’s right. You’re 100% motivated to do exactly what you’re doing at any given moment. 



I’ve been reading The Game Changer: How to Use the Science of Motivation With the Power of Game Design to Shift Behaviour, Shape Culture and Make Clever Happen by Jason Fox. Besides having a spectacularly long title, the book is long on great ideas too. The author makes a strong case for ways game design can be applied to bring motivation to life and work.



The book shows how we are motivated to do what we are currently doing in a given moment. That’s why it’s not helpful to assume someone just isn’t a motivated person. 



Whatever we are doing is what we are motivated to do.



As a result, it doesn’t make sense to try to change motivation. It might be possible, but it’s very difficult. We will default to activities that provide the richest sense of progress. Motivation isn’t the problem. The problem is the work itself. We want work that is satisfying.



We meaning WE, all of us. The adults in the school want meaningful work, and so do the students. All of us.



That doesn’t mean that every moment of the work will be satisfying, but overall, we see progress and benefits from the work we are doing. I’m guessing none of us would do anything we are currently doing if we didn’t see it as valuable or necessary to some relevant and beneficial purpose. 



And if we were required to do something out of compliance, that we did not value or find satisfying, over time it would be soul crushing and mind numbing. I wonder if some of our students feel that way?



If all of this is true, does it really make sense to expect students to change their motivation toward learning in your classroom or school? We plead with them to do their homework. We try to convince them why the work we offer them is so important to their future. We fuss at them to do more. We try to get them to buy-in to the game of school.



But why don’t we just change the game? 



Why don’t we reduce the friction? That’s the point I was trying to make in a previous post, 9 Ways to Make Learning Irresistible



I’m not saying we should make things easier, just more meaningful. Gamers fail as much as 80% of the time. Kids are extremely persistent when playing the games they love. They will persist in spite of frustration. They enjoy the challenge. They will stay with the struggle.



If kids aren’t persisting in our lessons, maybe we need to change the game. Every game includes goals, rules, and feedback. Every classroom includes goals, rules, and feedback. 



If we have an effective learning design, students WILL be motivated and you WILL successfully influence their behavior. Instead of expecting students to adjust to your game, why not develop the game with their motivations in mind? 



Why not change the learning to meet the students where they are? To me, that’s true relevance.



The students in your class who are struggling have probably always struggled in school. That becomes a pattern of frustration and failure. What are you doing to disrupt that pattern? What are you doing to be a game changer?



I’m really curious to know your thoughts on all of this. Leave me a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More A Surprisingly Beneficial Way to Think About Motivation





Every teenager is motivated. Every student is motivated. Every teacher. Every parent. Every person is 100% motivated. That’s right. You’re 100% motivated to do exactly what you’re doing at any given moment. 



I’ve been reading The Game Changer: How to Use the Science of Motivation With the Power of Game Design to Shift Behaviour, Shape Culture and Make Clever Happen by Jason Fox. Besides having a spectacularly long title, the book is long on great ideas too. The author makes a strong case for ways game design can be applied to bring motivation to life and work.



The book shows how we are motivated to do what we are currently doing in a given moment. That’s why it’s not helpful to assume someone just isn’t a motivated person. 



Whatever we are doing is what we are motivated to do.



As a result, it doesn’t make sense to try to change motivation. It might be possible, but it’s very difficult. We will default to activities that provide the richest sense of progress. Motivation isn’t the problem. The problem is the work itself. We want work that is satisfying.



We meaning WE, all of us. The adults in the school want meaningful work, and so do the students. All of us.



That doesn’t mean that every moment of the work will be satisfying, but overall, we see progress and benefits from the work we are doing. I’m guessing none of us would do anything we are currently doing if we didn’t see it as valuable or necessary to some relevant and beneficial purpose. 



And if we were required to do something out of compliance, that we did not value or find satisfying, over time it would be soul crushing and mind numbing. I wonder if some of our students feel that way?



If all of this is true, does it really make sense to expect students to change their motivation toward learning in your classroom or school? We plead with them to do their homework. We try to convince them why the work we offer them is so important to their future. We fuss at them to do more. We try to get them to buy-in to the game of school.



But why don’t we just change the game? 



Why don’t we reduce the friction? That’s the point I was trying to make in a previous post, 9 Ways to Make Learning Irresistible



I’m not saying we should make things easier, just more meaningful. Gamers fail as much as 80% of the time. Kids are extremely persistent when playing the games they love. They will persist in spite of frustration. They enjoy the challenge. They will stay with the struggle.



If kids aren’t persisting in our lessons, maybe we need to change the game. Every game includes goals, rules, and feedback. Every classroom includes goals, rules, and feedback. 



If we have an effective learning design, students WILL be motivated and you WILL successfully influence their behavior. Instead of expecting students to adjust to your game, why not develop the game with their motivations in mind? 



Why not change the learning to meet the students where they are? To me, that’s true relevance.



The students in your class who are struggling have probably always struggled in school. That becomes a pattern of frustration and failure. What are you doing to disrupt that pattern? What are you doing to be a game changer?



I’m really curious to know your thoughts on all of this. Leave me a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More A Surprisingly Beneficial Way to Think About Motivation





Every teenager is motivated. Every student is motivated. Every teacher. Every parent. Every person is 100% motivated. That’s right. You’re 100% motivated to do exactly what you’re doing at any given moment. 



I’ve been reading The Game Changer: How to Use the Science of Motivation With the Power of Game Design to Shift Behaviour, Shape Culture and Make Clever Happen by Jason Fox. Besides having a spectacularly long title, the book is long on great ideas too. The author makes a strong case for ways game design can be applied to bring motivation to life and work.



The book shows how we are motivated to do what we are currently doing in a given moment. That’s why it’s not helpful to assume someone just isn’t a motivated person. 



Whatever we are doing is what we are motivated to do.



As a result, it doesn’t make sense to try to change motivation. It might be possible, but it’s very difficult. We will default to activities that provide the richest sense of progress. Motivation isn’t the problem. The problem is the work itself. We want work that is satisfying.



We meaning WE, all of us. The adults in the school want meaningful work, and so do the students. All of us.



That doesn’t mean that every moment of the work will be satisfying, but overall, we see progress and benefits from the work we are doing. I’m guessing none of us would do anything we are currently doing if we didn’t see it as valuable or necessary to some relevant and beneficial purpose. 



And if we were required to do something out of compliance, that we did not value or find satisfying, over time it would be soul crushing and mind numbing. I wonder if some of our students feel that way?



If all of this is true, does it really make sense to expect students to change their motivation toward learning in your classroom or school? We plead with them to do their homework. We try to convince them why the work we offer them is so important to their future. We fuss at them to do more. We try to get them to buy-in to the game of school.



But why don’t we just change the game? 



Why don’t we reduce the friction? That’s the point I was trying to make in a previous post, 9 Ways to Make Learning Irresistible



I’m not saying we should make things easier, just more meaningful. Gamers fail as much as 80% of the time. Kids are extremely persistent when playing the games they love. They will persist in spite of frustration. They enjoy the challenge. They will stay with the struggle.



If kids aren’t persisting in our lessons, maybe we need to change the game. Every game includes goals, rules, and feedback. Every classroom includes goals, rules, and feedback. 



If we have an effective learning design, students WILL be motivated and you WILL successfully influence their behavior. Instead of expecting students to adjust to your game, why not develop the game with their motivations in mind? 



Why not change the learning to meet the students where they are? To me, that’s true relevance.



The students in your class who are struggling have probably always struggled in school. That becomes a pattern of frustration and failure. What are you doing to disrupt that pattern? What are you doing to be a game changer?



I’m really curious to know your thoughts on all of this. Leave me a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

      

Read More A Surprisingly Beneficial Way to Think About Motivation





Every teenager is motivated. Every student is motivated. Every teacher. Every parent. Every person is 100% motivated. That’s right. You’re 100% motivated to do exactly what you’re doing at any given moment. 



I’ve been reading The Game Changer: How to Use the Science of Motivation With the Power of Game Design to Shift Behaviour, Shape Culture and Make Clever Happen by Jason Fox. Besides having a spectacularly long title, the book is long on great ideas too. The author makes a strong case for ways game design can be applied to bring motivation to life and work.



The book shows how we are motivated to do what we are currently doing in a given moment. That’s why it’s not helpful to assume someone just isn’t a motivated person. 



Whatever we are doing is what we are motivated to do.



As a result, it doesn’t make sense to try to change motivation. It might be possible, but it’s very difficult. We will default to activities that provide the richest sense of progress. Motivation isn’t the problem. The problem is the work itself. We want work that is satisfying.



We meaning WE, all of us. The adults in the school want meaningful work, and so do the students. All of us.



That doesn’t mean that every moment of the work will be satisfying, but overall, we see progress and benefits from the work we are doing. I’m guessing none of us would do anything we are currently doing if we didn’t see it as valuable or necessary to some relevant and beneficial purpose. 



And if we were required to do something out of compliance, that we did not value or find satisfying, over time it would be soul crushing and mind numbing. I wonder if some of our students feel that way?



If all of this is true, does it really make sense to expect students to change their motivation toward learning in your classroom or school? We plead with them to do their homework. We try to convince them why the work we offer them is so important to their future. We fuss at them to do more. We try to get them to buy-in to the game of school.



But why don’t we just change the game? 



Why don’t we reduce the friction? That’s the point I was trying to make in a previous post, 9 Ways to Make Learning Irresistible



I’m not saying we should make things easier, just more meaningful. Gamers fail as much as 80% of the time. Kids are extremely persistent when playing the games they love. They will persist in spite of frustration. They enjoy the challenge. They will stay with the struggle.



If kids aren’t persisting in our lessons, maybe we need to change the game. Every game includes goals, rules, and feedback. Every classroom includes goals, rules, and feedback. 



If we have an effective learning design, students WILL be motivated and you WILL successfully influence their behavior. Instead of expecting students to adjust to your game, why not develop the game with their motivations in mind? 



Why not change the learning to meet the students where they are? To me, that’s true relevance.



The students in your class who are struggling have probably always struggled in school. That becomes a pattern of frustration and failure. What are you doing to disrupt that pattern? What are you doing to be a game changer?



I’m really curious to know your thoughts on all of this. Leave me a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

      

Read More A Surprisingly Beneficial Way to Think About Motivation



In Future Driven, I wrote about how educators often want something that can be implemented quickly. We want something we can learn on Tuesday and use on Wednesday.

We want the strategy that can be used tomorrow. We want the handout, the cheat sheet, the quick fix. The hack. We want solutions that can be tossed in the microwave and heated up when we need them. Even if they taste like crap.

But the best solutions aren’t microwave friendly. They come through deliberate practice. They come through deeper thinking. They come by shifting perspective. So kick the quick fix to the curb. Do the hard work of challenging the status quo. Ponder the deeper questions and look at the world in new and interesting ways.

Question everything.

Getting better results doesn’t happen by having a magic bullet. There are no magic bullets. Better results come from having a long term perspective and working diligently to make things better now and in the future. We need to have a process for growth we can rely on, not just a quick fix.



Quick fixes usually make things better just for a moment. But looking good is not the same as being good. Looking good is on the surface. It’s superficial. We want to actually be good and continue getting better. Ultimately, we want to help students succeed for the long term, not just for today.

Lots of educators are working tirelessly every day to try to make sure students succeed. They are trying to be as productive as they possibly can. They’re putting out fires left and right. They’re dealing with urgent problems. They’re attending workshops to learn new ideas. And trying to implement new ideas.



But many feel like they’re spinning their wheels. And it’s no wonder.



In the busyness of everything that’s urgent, it’s really easy to neglect the importance of growing. Are you really examining your own growth? Are you looking inward? Are you developing greater self-awareness? Are you reflecting? And most importantly, are you really investing in building your own capacity?



Schools need to create environments to support educators in the process of growth. We must make sure professionals are given time, encouragement, and opportunity to build their own capacity. Leadership needs to support growth, not just demand productivity.



We focus lots of energy on problems. But how much time are we focusing on how we can become better problem solvers? Too much professional learning seems to try to “teacher-proof” the instructional process. It turns educators into implementers instead of initiators. And that’s clearly not professional learning. I believe professional learning should actually help people grow as people and professionals.



One of the best strategies for solving problems is building capacity for solving problems. Everything about your school can be improved as the people in your school grow and learn together, all of them—students, teachers, everyone. The best way to improve a school is for the people in the school to be focused on improving themselves. The entire school becomes a dynamic learning environment.



Here are 5 ways you can be more dynamic in your learning and build your capacity for solving problems:



1. Listen Before You Act



As we get input from our colleagues, mentors and PLN, we can grow into problem-solving before we rush into problem-solving. We become more like the people we spend the most time with. Spend more time with people who are growing and who are capable problem-solvers. Soon, you’ll be stronger too. 



2. Think, Don’t React



Better schools are built on better thinking. Take the limits off and look at issues from all sides and as objectively as possible. Emotions may say one thing, but careful thought may lead you in a different direction.



3. Test Ideas and Solutions



We can become better problem solvers when we are open to trying creative solutions. Generate lots of ideas and test them. We can’t keep doing the same things and expecting different results. Try a slightly different approach. Try a radically different approach. And see what works. Sometimes a massive change is needed.



4. Make Time for Learning



The most successful people make time for learning, not just doing. Benjamin Franklin, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Gates all follow the 5-hour rule. At least five hours a week should be dedicated to learning something new. Always be learning.



5. Look Within, Reflect



Self-awareness allows us to examine our own thought process. When we take time to reflect, we learn more from our experiences and the experiences of others. Without reflection, we are constrained by our bias, blind spots, and habits. We won’t grow as problem-solvers unless we acknowledge the areas where we need to continue to learn and grow.



So what’s your reflection on these thoughts? Are you making time to learn and grow? Are you only focused on being productive (checking off your list each day)? Or, are you also focused on building your capacity? Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. I would love to hear from you.












Read More 5 Ways to Build Capacity for Solving Problems



In Future Driven, I wrote about how educators often want something that can be implemented quickly. We want something we can learn on Tuesday and use on Wednesday.

We want the strategy that can be used tomorrow. We want the handout, the cheat sheet, the quick fix. The hack. We want solutions that can be tossed in the microwave and heated up when we need them. Even if they taste like crap.

But the best solutions aren’t microwave friendly. They come through deliberate practice. They come through deeper thinking. They come by shifting perspective. So kick the quick fix to the curb. Do the hard work of challenging the status quo. Ponder the deeper questions and look at the world in new and interesting ways.

Question everything.

Getting better results doesn’t happen by having a magic bullet. There are no magic bullets. Better results come from having a long term perspective and working diligently to make things better now and in the future. We need to have a process for growth we can rely on, not just a quick fix.



Quick fixes usually make things better just for a moment. But looking good is not the same as being good. Looking good is on the surface. It’s superficial. We want to actually be good and continue getting better. Ultimately, we want to help students succeed for the long term, not just for today.

Lots of educators are working tirelessly every day to try to make sure students succeed. They are trying to be as productive as they possibly can. They’re putting out fires left and right. They’re dealing with urgent problems. They’re attending workshops to learn new ideas. And trying to implement new ideas.



But many feel like they’re spinning their wheels. And it’s no wonder.



In the busyness of everything that’s urgent, it’s really easy to neglect the importance of growing. Are you really examining your own growth? Are you looking inward? Are you developing greater self-awareness? Are you reflecting? And most importantly, are you really investing in building your own capacity?



Schools need to create environments to support educators in the process of growth. We must make sure professionals are given time, encouragement, and opportunity to build their own capacity. Leadership needs to support growth, not just demand productivity.



We focus lots of energy on problems. But how much time are we focusing on how we can become better problem solvers? Too much professional learning seems to try to “teacher-proof” the instructional process. It turns educators into implementers instead of initiators. And that’s clearly not professional learning. I believe professional learning should actually help people grow as people and professionals.



One of the best strategies for solving problems is building capacity for solving problems. Everything about your school can be improved as the people in your school grow and learn together, all of them—students, teachers, everyone. The best way to improve a school is for the people in the school to be focused on improving themselves. The entire school becomes a dynamic learning environment.



Here are 5 ways you can be more dynamic in your learning and build your capacity for solving problems:



1. Listen Before You Act



As we get input from our colleagues, mentors and PLN, we can grow into problem-solving before we rush into problem-solving. We become more like the people we spend the most time with. Spend more time with people who are growing and who are capable problem-solvers. Soon, you’ll be stronger too. 



2. Think, Don’t React



Better schools are built on better thinking. Take the limits off and look at issues from all sides and as objectively as possible. Emotions may say one thing, but careful thought may lead you in a different direction.



3. Test Ideas and Solutions



We can become better problem solvers when we are open to trying creative solutions. Generate lots of ideas and test them. We can’t keep doing the same things and expecting different results. Try a slightly different approach. Try a radically different approach. And see what works. Sometimes a massive change is needed.



4. Make Time for Learning



The most successful people make time for learning, not just doing. Benjamin Franklin, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Gates all follow the 5-hour rule. At least five hours a week should be dedicated to learning something new. Always be learning.



5. Look Within, Reflect



Self-awareness allows us to examine our own thought process. When we take time to reflect, we learn more from our experiences and the experiences of others. Without reflection, we are constrained by our bias, blind spots, and habits. We won’t grow as problem-solvers unless we acknowledge the areas where we need to continue to learn and grow.



So what’s your reflection on these thoughts? Are you making time to learn and grow? Are you only focused on being productive (checking off your list each day)? Or, are you also focused on building your capacity? Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. I would love to hear from you.












Read More 5 Ways to Build Capacity for Solving Problems



In Future Driven, I wrote about how educators often want something that can be implemented quickly. We want something we can learn on Tuesday and use on Wednesday.

We want the strategy that can be used tomorrow. We want the handout, the cheat sheet, the quick fix. The hack. We want solutions that can be tossed in the microwave and heated up when we need them. Even if they taste like crap.

But the best solutions aren’t microwave friendly. They come through deliberate practice. They come through deeper thinking. They come by shifting perspective. So kick the quick fix to the curb. Do the hard work of challenging the status quo. Ponder the deeper questions and look at the world in new and interesting ways.

Question everything.

Getting better results doesn’t happen by having a magic bullet. There are no magic bullets. Better results come from having a long term perspective and working diligently to make things better now and in the future. We need to have a process for growth we can rely on, not just a quick fix.



Quick fixes usually make things better just for a moment. But looking good is not the same as being good. Looking good is on the surface. It’s superficial. We want to actually be good and continue getting better. Ultimately, we want to help students succeed for the long term, not just for today.

Lots of educators are working tirelessly every day to try to make sure students succeed. They are trying to be as productive as they possibly can. They’re putting out fires left and right. They’re dealing with urgent problems. They’re attending workshops to learn new ideas. And trying to implement new ideas.



But many feel like they’re spinning their wheels. And it’s no wonder.



In the busyness of everything that’s urgent, it’s really easy to neglect the importance of growing. Are you really examining your own growth? Are you looking inward? Are you developing greater self-awareness? Are you reflecting? And most importantly, are you really investing in building your own capacity?



Schools need to create environments to support educators in the process of growth. We must make sure professionals are given time, encouragement, and opportunity to build their own capacity. Leadership needs to support growth, not just demand productivity.



We focus lots of energy on problems. But how much time are we focusing on how we can become better problem solvers? Too much professional learning seems to try to “teacher-proof” the instructional process. It turns educators into implementers instead of initiators. And that’s clearly not professional learning. I believe professional learning should actually help people grow as people and professionals.



One of the best strategies for solving problems is building capacity for solving problems. Everything about your school can be improved as the people in your school grow and learn together, all of them—students, teachers, everyone. The best way to improve a school is for the people in the school to be focused on improving themselves. The entire school becomes a dynamic learning environment.



Here are 5 ways you can be more dynamic in your learning and build your capacity for solving problems:



1. Listen Before You Act



As we get input from our colleagues, mentors and PLN, we can grow into problem-solving before we rush into problem-solving. We become more like the people we spend the most time with. Spend more time with people who are growing and who are capable problem-solvers. Soon, you’ll be stronger too. 



2. Think, Don’t React



Better schools are built on better thinking. Take the limits off and look at issues from all sides and as objectively as possible. Emotions may say one thing, but careful thought may lead you in a different direction.



3. Test Ideas and Solutions



We can become better problem solvers when we are open to trying creative solutions. Generate lots of ideas and test them. We can’t keep doing the same things and expecting different results. Try a slightly different approach. Try a radically different approach. And see what works. Sometimes a massive change is needed.



4. Make Time for Learning



The most successful people make time for learning, not just doing. Benjamin Franklin, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Gates all follow the 5-hour rule. At least five hours a week should be dedicated to learning something new. Always be learning.



5. Look Within, Reflect



Self-awareness allows us to examine our own thought process. When we take time to reflect, we learn more from our experiences and the experiences of others. Without reflection, we are constrained by our bias, blind spots, and habits. We won’t grow as problem-solvers unless we acknowledge the areas where we need to continue to learn and grow.



So what’s your reflection on these thoughts? Are you making time to learn and grow? Are you only focused on being productive (checking off your list each day)? Or, are you also focused on building your capacity? Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. I would love to hear from you.












      

Read More 5 Ways to Build Capacity for Solving Problems



In Future Driven, I wrote about how educators often want something that can be implemented quickly. We want something we can learn on Tuesday and use on Wednesday.

We want the strategy that can be used tomorrow. We want the handout, the cheat sheet, the quick fix. The hack. We want solutions that can be tossed in the microwave and heated up when we need them. Even if they taste like crap.

But the best solutions aren’t microwave friendly. They come through deliberate practice. They come through deeper thinking. They come by shifting perspective. So kick the quick fix to the curb. Do the hard work of challenging the status quo. Ponder the deeper questions and look at the world in new and interesting ways.

Question everything.

Getting better results doesn’t happen by having a magic bullet. There are no magic bullets. Better results come from having a long term perspective and working diligently to make things better now and in the future. We need to have a process for growth we can rely on, not just a quick fix.



Quick fixes usually make things better just for a moment. But looking good is not the same as being good. Looking good is on the surface. It’s superficial. We want to actually be good and continue getting better. Ultimately, we want to help students succeed for the long term, not just for today.

Lots of educators are working tirelessly every day to try to make sure students succeed. They are trying to be as productive as they possibly can. They’re putting out fires left and right. They’re dealing with urgent problems. They’re attending workshops to learn new ideas. And trying to implement new ideas.



But many feel like they’re spinning their wheels. And it’s no wonder.



In the busyness of everything that’s urgent, it’s really easy to neglect the importance of growing. Are you really examining your own growth? Are you looking inward? Are you developing greater self-awareness? Are you reflecting? And most importantly, are you really investing in building your own capacity?



Schools need to create environments to support educators in the process of growth. We must make sure professionals are given time, encouragement, and opportunity to build their own capacity. Leadership needs to support growth, not just demand productivity.



We focus lots of energy on problems. But how much time are we focusing on how we can become better problem solvers? Too much professional learning seems to try to “teacher-proof” the instructional process. It turns educators into implementers instead of initiators. And that’s clearly not professional learning. I believe professional learning should actually help people grow as people and professionals.



One of the best strategies for solving problems is building capacity for solving problems. Everything about your school can be improved as the people in your school grow and learn together, all of them—students, teachers, everyone. The best way to improve a school is for the people in the school to be focused on improving themselves. The entire school becomes a dynamic learning environment.



Here are 5 ways you can be more dynamic in your learning and build your capacity for solving problems:



1. Listen Before You Act



As we get input from our colleagues, mentors and PLN, we can grow into problem-solving before we rush into problem-solving. We become more like the people we spend the most time with. Spend more time with people who are growing and who are capable problem-solvers. Soon, you’ll be stronger too. 



2. Think, Don’t React



Better schools are built on better thinking. Take the limits off and look at issues from all sides and as objectively as possible. Emotions may say one thing, but careful thought may lead you in a different direction.



3. Test Ideas and Solutions



We can become better problem solvers when we are open to trying creative solutions. Generate lots of ideas and test them. We can’t keep doing the same things and expecting different results. Try a slightly different approach. Try a radically different approach. And see what works. Sometimes a massive change is needed.



4. Make Time for Learning



The most successful people make time for learning, not just doing. Benjamin Franklin, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Gates all follow the 5-hour rule. At least five hours a week should be dedicated to learning something new. Always be learning.



5. Look Within, Reflect



Self-awareness allows us to examine our own thought process. When we take time to reflect, we learn more from our experiences and the experiences of others. Without reflection, we are constrained by our bias, blind spots, and habits. We won’t grow as problem-solvers unless we acknowledge the areas where we need to continue to learn and grow.



So what’s your reflection on these thoughts? Are you making time to learn and grow? Are you only focused on being productive (checking off your list each day)? Or, are you also focused on building your capacity? Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter. I would love to hear from you.












      

Read More 5 Ways to Build Capacity for Solving Problems