I was sitting in a hotel room one evening in Atlanta, the night before I was due to give a presentation on Appreciative Leadership in schools, feeling the press of time for producing a concrete set of items for our school improvement plan, that was due the following week. In sitting as a co-leader of the Continuous School Improvement Team (CSIT), I had facilitated more than a year’s work of investigation and discussions by most all of our stakeholders into what makes our school special and the subsequent steps to take it even further. Data was overflowing in many forms. My challenge was simple – sift all of the data and information, weigh what had and was being done with an eye towards the future, measure the school’s capacity and performance while recognizing its philosophical underpinnings that would continue to support the school’s flourishing that I had witnessed and helped create in the 22 year lead up to this point. As a qualitative researcher/practitioner, I had to put my own agenda in its proper place.
With the swirling maelstrom of so many ideas, I searched for a sense of coherence. Ironically, it came from my own personal base of learning. I recognized the key pieces of the learning community that had been strong and which were calling for renewed attention. I then dove into researching current best practices that were linked to the 21st Century skills and where thought leaders were suggesting we should steer our learners. I found the connecting bridge!. If you have read through this site you will have seen that I very much believe in a personal learning journey and embrace the power of active and experiential learning. That night, somewhere around 3-4 a.m., I was able to leave the keyboard and screen to rest with provocative ideas laying exposed for the next brazen steps …. Personal Learning Plans, Activating Deeper Learning, and Standards Based Assessment to be owned in performance and demonstration by the students!
So in this space, I will bring together some of the resources that I have been using for my work.
From Allison Zmuda