«

»

Nov 14

Chris Smeaton

Transformation begins with a conversation.

On November 2nd, we hosted our first transformation conversation. It was a small crowd involving school council chairs, ATA site representatives, school and system leaders, post-secondary faculty, Alberta Education personnel and trustees. The format of the evening was set up as a world cafe in order to mix and match as many viewpoints as possible. The protocol that everybody had something to offer was paramount in our evening. Our conversation was structured using three leading questions: (1) What was school like when you attended? (2) What is school like today? (3) What changes are required to transform education without additional resources? Let me provide the context of the third question. Since beginning in education in 1985, I have yet to say that we have enough money in education. Therefore, why would we assume that more money/resources is inevitable in our transformation journey? Furthermore, it would be unfair to “blue sky” our thoughts on changes only to hear that the resources are not available.  Before we began question #3, I showed the illustrated video from Sir Ken Robinson: Changing education paradigms.

The resulting conversation developed five main themes for change:

  • Prepare for the “Real World” – 21st Century Learning
  • Re-thinking the Concept of “School”
  • Assessment
  • Curriculum
  • Community

The last part of the evening was spent on generating 1-2 actions that we as a school division should be looking at to further the transformation process. Four general themes became evident in this area:

  • Student focus
  • Changing School Structure
  • Assessment and Curriculum
  • Teacher focus

The entire synopsis of the evening can be found at Transformation Conversation.

The way forward is having more conversations with staff and parents. Even more important is the conversation with our disengaged parents and our students. They all need to be part of what education is to become. The need to change is not going to be easy as I have previously written in my post “Reducing Failure” but it is critical that we overcome our resistance. There are some great posts by Eric Sheninger and Scott Franklin involving change that I would suggest you read as they help us understand that the change in education will not be easy and will be messy. And finally, I would suggest that you view a quick video entitled Learning to Change, Changing to Learn: A Canadian Perspective that I picked up from George Couros for some further provoking of our thougths on education. 

Transformation begins with a conversation and its journey will never end. What a great and exciting time to be in education!!! 

“Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more; wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking. By walking one makes the road, and upon glancing behind one sees the path that never will be trod again. Wanderer, there is no road–Only wakes upon the sea.”  Antonio Machado

2 comments

  1. Esmé Comfort

    You are going down the road. Congratulations, off to a flying start. It is clear a lot of deep thought went into the process. Very interested to see where it goes. You accomplished a lot in the first conversation. The trust that gets built and where that can lead is so very hopeful.

  2. Kurtis Hewson

    So exciting to hear the direction that you’re going and that the conversation is going to be transparent through the many social tools at our disposal. I believe that we reach more of our school population through these tools than our traditional meetings and paper surveys could ever reach. And you’re right, we need to have these conversations and do this work under the assumption that additional resources are not going to fall from the sky. However, how can we ensure what we have available goes in the right areas? Best of luck in leading these important conversations!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>