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Just a little bit over a year ago I was in our district’s subject area facilitators meeting and we had a thought provoking discussion on how the role of the teacher is shifting from instructor to lead learner. Naturally, this sparked some questions about what a lead learner is and what a lead learner does?
As the group was discussing this I was desperately trying to formulate the key characteristics of what it is that lead learners do. After a few minutes I had something I was proud of and I decided to share it with the world on Twitter.
— Chris Long (@clonghb) August 21, 2015
When you send something out like this on Twitter you never know what will happen. In this case I was hoping some other educators might benefit from these ideas and I wanted to have a digital record of it, so that I can easily find this note and return to it at will. Before I go into what happened, let’s take a moment to unpack what I believe lead learners do.
First and foremost, lead learners ASK! They are inquisitive and curious questioners, who are not afraid to venture into the unknown.
What can we do this year to grow together?
What will indicate if we are successful?
Did you notice WE? Lead learners aren’t soloists they are teammates. They realize that collaboration is not just another ‘C’. It’s an essential ingredient for learning that adds value to both the process and the product.
Did you notice WHY is before how? Lead learners start with the why and stay in the why. If you don’t know why you are doing something or don’t believe in why you are doing it, then don’t do it.
Did you notice the last question (What will indicate if we are successful?) empowers you to define your own conditions for success? Just by thinking about it, you are priming your brain for success and setting your team up for shared accountability.
Lastly, did you notice I changed the word improve to grow in question number 1?
That is due to power of sharing your work publicly.
— Jim Bentley (@Curiosity_Films) August 30, 2016
Notice what happened here? A few weeks ago a Jim Bentley replied to my Tweet from over a year ago and boomeranged it back to me. Suddenly my thoughts from last year hit me and gifted me an opportunity to pause and reflect on them. As I did this I realized it was great to be reminded of what lead learners do as we start another school year. I have never even meet Jim, but deeply appreciated his feedback on my notes and quickly revised my number one question by changing improve to grow.
Why? I believe growth is greater than improvement, because many times it’s in your failures that you learn the most. And if you are focused only on improvement, you are not valuing or permitting failure. We grow from our failures and we do indeed improve, but we should always value growth more than the improvements. So let’s grow together this year and keep asking powerful and purposeful questions!
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- Some Kind of Boomerang: Growing, Leading, Learning - September 10, 2016