BLC15 has just finished (Building Learning Communities conference) and my head is spinning with inspiration and enthusiasm. So many people ‘out there’ making a difference by having a ‘big hairy audacious goal’ (Jim Collins, Good to Great). The final keynote of the conference was given by Jenny Magiera (@MsMagiera), a name new to me. Jennie Magiera is the Chief Technology Officer for Des Plaines School District 62, previously the Digital Learning Coordinator for the Academy for Urban School Leadership and a Chicago Public Schools math teacher.
Jenny talked about making meaningful change and her presentation began with a challenge to us all to get some ‘moonshot thinking’ happening. Check out the Youtube video to get the main idea.
Moonshot thinking and great big hairy audacious goals are best friends – they challenge us to think beyond what is possible, to choose to be bothered by what is not possible; to set out to make a difference even though it looks pretty impossible to do. The message from Jenny and the video is that with courage, persistence and passion, you are unstoppable. This thinking finds a home with the work of Carol Dweck on Mindsets (@mindsetworks) and you’ll find her book at most online stores).
So what do we do with this challenge as educators. I think we set our students free from the constraints we place on them. Sometimes the teachers need to get out of the way and see what is possible. Be there to challenge, guide, pick up the pieces if need be but not to define the parameters. This is pretty scary for many teachers but I am not sure it is for our students. I don’t mean we throw them out there to ‘discover’, nor do we stop modelling, instructing etc – we just have to stop being so controlling and build the chance for challenge into our classrooms. We need to teach our students about ‘Moonshot thinking’. The biggest hurdle might just be learning to do it ourselves – well that’s mine anyway.