If you are one of the following please report to the classroom and continue reading:
Last week I was given the chance to fly to Bangkok for the EARCOS Leadership Conference. It was at this conference last year that I presided over a symposium of school heads to discuss their thoughts on leadership. If you attended the symposium or have followed the blog you may know that it was designed to be the capstone on a year long journey of interviewing various school leaders from around the world. Capturing this knowledge was the original purpose of this blog, and really mostly for my own selfish benefit. In the process I took some steps to make the blog visually appealing, namely contracting a young Filipina web designer that I’ve actually never met in person (thanks Cat).
As I traveled over to the conference this year I changed planes in Seoul, South Korea where I began to see some familiar international school faces. In a brief conversation with a school head that I had never previously met, he asked whether I was that guy who started the blog, and mentioned enjoying reading it. In reflection of this conversation I’ve seen how my simple quest for leadership knowledge in some small way has been helpful for others. I mention this because although I never originally intended this site to be a product, in some ways it has become a way for others to learn more about education and leadership ideas around the world.
Rightfully, we expect our teachers to be lifelong learners, and often bullet point this on a job description, but this value misses an important trait: the practice of sharing what’s been learned.
Two weeks ago I had the privilege of meeting with Dr. Yong Zhao, author of World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students, who visited Punahou to speak to and consult with the faculty in our journey to transform our Junior School curriculum to fully inquiry-based. In his book and through his conversations with our faculty he continually mentioned the value of students creating products from their learning that are purposeful and provide values to others. This is instead of the conventional poster or some other gimmicky way of showing what was learned.
Lately as we’ve been moving this conversation forward at our school one of the topics of discussion has included the question: In addition to developing entrepreneurial skills in our students is it necessary to develop more entrepreneurial teachers? I’d argue yes, and believe this blog is an example of how this process can be transformative, which it has been for me. Rightfully, we expect our teachers to be lifelong learners, and often bullet point this on a job description, but this value misses an important trait: the practice of sharing what’s been learned. I’m lucky, since at Punahou there are a number of fellowships and grants designed to provide funding for this kind of scholarship, although an emphasis on creating a product could continue to be sharpened.
That being said, I’ve been astonished this year how a journey to communicate what I’ve learned has continually pushed me to be sensitive about what other might want to know and how I can best share it. Hopefully, as you and your community strive to be lifelong learners you’ll take the extra and important step of preparing it for production.
Has your school created a community of professionals who publish, produce, engineer, create, and design products for the world? How does this effect your students?