Voice and Choice: Comments on sessions with students

April 27, 2014

On Friday we had a session with the group who did a pitch around the general concept of engagement.  As part of the day we invited students from two of the pitch ideas to attend and take part.  This was done as a philosophical choice about making sure that student voice was included in the discussion.  We did not give it much more thought than that.

However, as we began to discuss the topic of engagement it quickly became very clear that the student voice was critical and was shaping the day in ways we had not imagined.

Our board improvement plan says that we are working on student achievement through voice and engagement.  I have seldom seen it in action any more clearly than on Friday – at least at the system level.  We have realized several times this year that we needed to simply ask the students or just ask the teachers when we were trying to figure out the next best step in a variety of projects.  Here was another example of the importance of remembering the power of asking, giving authentic voice and listening to it.

Thank you to all who were in the group on Friday.  It was eye-opening and soul enriching.

Quotes without Comment (YET): The importance of STRENGTHS

Easter Monday MLOG – April 21, 2014  

I have been reading about the Gallup poll taken about student engagement.  There are some stunning results and many important lessons to be learned.  If you are interested here is a great blog by Grant Wiggins that considers it in detail: Grant Wiggins on Engagement and the Gallup Poll

Meanwhile, here are a couple of facts that struck me as astonishing and worthy of pondering:

Among the 600,000 students who took the poll in 2013, those who strongly agreed with two simple statements were 30 times as likely as those who strongly disagreed with both to be emotionally engaged at school. Those two statements were:

1. My school is committed to building the strengths of each student.

2. I have at least one teacher who makes me excited about the future.

Teachers are asked to ensure “that the praise they offer is personal and meaningful.”

And more:

The key, from Gallup studies of schools nationwide, is to build education plans that match up with each student’s unique strengths. In other words, when students know what they do best and have opportunities to develop those talents, they are more motivated and enthusiastic about learning.

 So which of these things surprises you most?  Which do you want to take action upon first?

Cast Your Net: What Vision Are You Trying to Catch?

I was listening to “Tapestry” – a CBC radio show  – today and the host was speaking with a “Christian movie critic”.  He kept explaining why the title he had did not fit his actual role.  He said, yes, I am Christian and yes I review movies but I am not a critic nor do I let my Christian title get in the way of sharing beauty.  He went on to say that with every stroke of a brush or pen, with every word we write we are always casting our nets to capture the beauty of the world and the greatness of the promise of eternal life.

It was similar to Bishop Crosby’s message to the SO’s at our AGM on Wednesday.  He pointed out that everything in the Easter message is about LIFE and we have to see it and celebrate it and be grateful for it.  Every day.  In every way.

So, my question to you (and to myself) is: What have we done to celebrate life today?  How have we shown our gratitude for what we have?  How have we shared that need with our students???

April 6, 2014: Another Sunday Creating Another MLOG

I was reading a leadership blog (17 Ways to Meet Tomorrow’s Challenges ) and saw that one of the ways to meet tomorrow’s challenges is to: Invite others to compensate for your weaknesses.  So, I am thinking that I should determine my strengths so that I can know how best to compensate for my weaknesses.

I have done the test in Now, Discover your Strengths and found that my five top areas are: Maximizer, Positivity, Strategic, Developer, and Input.  This means that I am interested in potential of others, that I like to look for and develop others strengths, that I like to give praise and am lighthearted, and that I am inquisitive and like to collect things.  So, what areas do I need to compensate for?

I seem to lack the areas that involve seeing people as individuals who need strong relationships.  I might not analyze things fully or work hard enough to increase my circle or make things predictable.  So, anyone want to work with me and provide these traits?  I am looking for your balancing input!