On my nightstand right now, is this professional read:
I consider myself to be a “Leader of Learning” which of course means that I am an active learner, not an expert, but rather one who holds a vision for a community of learners and guides the process with data, protocols, dissonance, action and reflection. Ah yes…dissonance. I am often challenged in unpredictable ways. Sometimes, my hidden assumptions bubble to the surface gradually and other times they hit me square in the face. What is learning to me? How have my beliefs about learning changed as I learn? What type of learning do I value? This growth space is a good place to linger awhile.
Today, I also began learning about learning with a Massive Open Online Learning Course (MOOC): HarvardX: GSE2x Leaders of Learning. With Dr. Richard Elmore leading this course I know that I am in for a good challenge! I am prepared for cognitive dissonance and I am ready to refine and articulate my vision for leadership, organization and the design of learning opportunities.
Challenge number one occurred almost instantly with the onset of the course. Judging from the book that I am reading one can infer that I value collaborative learning – learning as a social construct amongst equals. Today, I discovered that my core beliefs reveal that I also value a hierarchical collective approach. I have visions of my work family at schools where I have had positions of leadership rolling their eyes and nodding their heads. “What? You didn’t know that about yourself Jenn?” It is true that I tend to seek out the leader role – insert a dramatic sigh here – this does imply a hierarchy. Already, I am beginning to articulate ambiguity about learning. I had hoped for clarity!
My teacher roots run deep. Occasionally, I catch myself thinking back to my first teaching position, 21 years ago in an all boys school, and wondering how anyone truly learned anything with my highly traditional “Sage on the Stage” daily performance. As an aside: I truly loved that school and my colleagues became the best mentors a young teacher could ask for.
Learning is indeed a complex construct! And yes, I am excited to be smack dab in the middle of it! Why don’t you join me? 🙂