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Posts Tagged ‘Culture of Yes’

I am often asked “just what is the Culture of Yes?”  Although the ‘culture’ continues to evolve, it is still the belief system as I set out to define in my address on my first day as Superintendent:

It is the “culture of yes”, we have and will continue to foster — one that embraces new ideas and new ways to look at learning and organize learning; a “culture of yes” that supports innovation and creativity for both learners and teachers, knowing this is how we will continue to evolve.  It is a “culture of yes” that touches on the passions we entered the profession with, and that may have sometimes been lost along the way, but hopefully, found again.

It was interesting to see Seth Godin, who I have often referenced, take up a similar theme in his recent post, On Behalf of Yes:

Yes, it’s okay to ship your work.

Yes, you’re capable of making a difference.

Yes, it’s important.

Yes, you can ignore that critic.

Yes, your bravery is worth it.

Yes, we believe in you.

Yes, you can do even better.

Yes.

Yes is an opportunity and yes is an obligation. The closer we get to people who are confronting the resistance on their way to making a ruckus, the more they let us in, the greater our obligation is to focus on the yes.

There will always be a surplus of people eager to criticize, nitpick or recommend caution. Your job, at least right now, is to reinforce the power of the yes.

Seth’s blog brings to mind a story I recently heard regarding innovation and education in England.  The government proposed to their education system they could apply to have any rules, laws, etc. suspended in the name of innovation (there is currently a similar initiative in BC).  Those who wanted to ‘not comply’ had to make application to the government with the appropriate rationale.  The project’s one major finding was over 80% of applications received were unnecessary. Why? Because the rules that hundreds of educators had applied to have suspended didn’t actually exist.  I think this general challenge is also true in British Columbia — we believe we are more restricted by laws, rules and legislation than we actually are (possibly by rules that don’t exist, as well) thereby justifying the belief that innovation is not possible and we continue to accept the Status Quo.

In education, more than any other profession, we need to continue to promote YES; “yes” for the teacher embracing formative assessment discouraged by the parent who claims this is not how they were assessed in school; “yes” for the school that cannot re-imagine their programs in their current, highly successful system; “yes” for the people to take the risk knowing the road to change is long and challenging.

And, it is certainly nice to know there are others pushing  for YES.

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I compiled a “Top 3” list for 2010 (here), and am thinking of turning the “Top 3” into an annual tradition.  Many of my 2010 choices could have held for this year, but I wanted to highlight new people, blogs, resources, etc.  These year-end lists are a great way to raise topics, discussion and debate, and shine some light onto areas that may have received less attention than I thought they deserved as the year went along.  I look forward to your own “Top 3” thoughts for 2011.

Top 3 “Culture of Yes” Blog Posts – these posts have generated the most traffic this year:

1.  My Take on Librarians

2.  Preparing and Supporting Teachers to Integrate Technology in the Classroom

3.  A Little Bit About Mrs. Caffrey

Top 3 BC Teacher Blogs I Follow:

1.  Keith Rispin, West Vancouver

2.  David Wees, Vancouver

3.  , Lytton

Top 3 BC Edu-bloggers (not current teachers or school administrators)  I Follow:

1. Mike McKay, Surrey

2. Brian Kuhn, Coquitlam

3. Tom Schimmer, Penticton

Top 3 Digital  Learning Trends in Schools:

1.  Everyone has a blog — students, teachers, administrators, district staff.  From a few dozen to a few hundred (or more) in B.C., in just one year

2.  Personally Owned Devices — more jurisdictions are including PODs as part of their digital-learning strategy

3.  iPads — from school pilots to being one of the most popular presents at Christmas, they are finding their way into more and more classrooms

Top 3 Professional Development Events I have Attended:

1.  GELP – Global Education Leadership Program

2.  West Vancouver Opening Day with Stuart Shanker

3.  MindShare Learning 21st Century Canadian EdTech Summit

Top 3 Used (and often overused) Terms in Education for the Year:

1. The Flipped Classroom

2.  Technology is just a tool

3.  Taking to Scale

Top 3 Books I have Read this Year that Influenced My Thinking:

1.  Nurtureshock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merrymen

2. Spark:  The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John Ratey

3. What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly

Top 3 School-related Videos from West Vancouver (that I bet you haven’t seen)

1.  Students at Cypress Park talking about their project with the Obakki Foundation – Kids for Clean water

2.  Caulfeild Elementary sharing the story of their iDEC Program

3.  Students at West Vancouver Secondary and their lipdub from the spring

Top 3 School-related Videos from B.C. (that I bet you haven’t seen)

1.  Students from School Completion and Beyond reflecting on the BC EdPlan

2.  An introduction to Learning Commons in BC

3.  Delta School District Vision Video

As I finish my first full year as Superintendent, I continue to love using my blog to reflect, share and engage.  I like David Eaves‘ notion that the blog is a great place to work out the mind.  I look forward to continuing to connect in 2012!

Chris Kennedy

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