How to Spur a Change in Culture

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Every week we ask our email subscribers, whom we affectionately call our family, if they will submit an intellectually curious question about 21st Century Learning. We got a great one submitted for our first Live Show.  

Question: I have a friend who is working in an environment that was launching swiftly into 21st century learning practices but this friend of mine is now working in an environment that hasn’t quite yet reached that level.  In the new environment, let’s say it’s the “we are the building a rocket phase but we have trouble accepting the fact that we will actually ever launch. “What suggestions or advice can you give to start a cultural and innovative revolution.”

Bryan: Right off the bat I think it is frustrating and to say that is okay. Just say, “This is kind of frustrating.”  I think if I was in that environment – I think I have been in those environments – and you have probably been in those environments, too – where innovation is happening – and you change to a different environment, understand that baby steps are okay.  

It’s okay to take a small step or work with one person.  

Focus on one person at a time, one day at a time, even one minute at a time, and really, in that moment, and in that one person, you never know what what seeds you are planting. You never know what that one person can do to help your cause, to revolutionize the world.

Just start small. Baby steps.

Jessica: I’m reminded of last year when my math department using Canvas as part of our  meeting, and then thinking, “You know, this isn’t easy.”

You have to remind yourself that it’s a process.

So we did it – we went into a meeting, we all did it, we all got  logged in and we tried it. Knowing that we were going to be able to see each other again and try it again, helped me realize that this is a process and it may not be great the very first time. It does not have to be perfect right away. 

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Wes: Immediately when I heard this question, I thought about a story I told at the principal’s meeting about myself when I was new to Santa Ana.  I said, “You know I come from a family of pioneers; my great great grandfather came from Germany and he moved to America and he settled in Nebraska. He brought electricity to the county he lived in. He came from another country, spoke no English originally, and when he saw that there was no electricity and realized the difference it could make to people’s lives, he said, “Where do we get electricity? Let’s figure this out!” So, I come from a family of pioneers.  In the next meeting with principals, I wanted to go back to that story and I said, “Let’s tell a deeper story.  Why did my great, great grandfather come to America in the first place?”  

The reason he came is because he heard stories; he heard stories of what it’s like in the new land. I think this emphasizes the importance of sharing vision and telling ourselves what it’s like where we are going. Let’s take a look at what’s going on and not be isolated, but connect to those around use by sharing stories and celebrating those developments and experiences that highlight where we are going.  If we did a department meeting on Canvas, let’s talk about that, let’s share that, let’s tell every department so it becomes part of the story of who we are and where we are going.

Let’s share stories and share vision.

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Coordinating 21st Century Learning in Santa Ana & beyond. I practice art through photography. I raise funds for clean water with Team World Vision.

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Coordinating 21st Century Learning in Santa Ana & beyond. I practice art through photography. I raise funds for clean water with Team World Vision.

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