Rome wasn’t built in a day….. nor was it built in three days ….. But this house ….. just have a look at it ….. Built in three days ….. and oh dear ….. I can’t say what happens at the end or you will hate me for wrecking your viewing of this cool video clip. Quick ….. have a look at the video and then I will continue!
Cool ay? Can you imagine trying to build this slowly let alone quickly? Pretty hard to imagine ….. perhaps near impossible to create even. But ….. isn’t this what we have all been doing over the last year? In both our professional capacity as well as at a personal level ….. we’ve been building ….. placing one card on top of another to structure our thinking, our learning and our growth in understanding. Card by card, we’ve been busy erecting foundations for future growth.
Like you, I too am nearing the end of the year. Packing my bags, clearing my desk, ensuring that all is in order prior to heading away for the summer. With all that action, reflection on what has been achieved looms large in my mind. What have I achieved? What have I gained? Where am I going? And what on earth have I been trying to do? Heavy stuff ….. I know.
Just like this video, I’ve been building, card by card, a scaffold on which to lean, to learn, to teach and to share. Thinking, planning and delving into the new. That’s what I’ve been doing and that’s what I hope to be doing in the future. When I look back over the last year, I wonder what it is I’ve achieved. Like you, there have been moments of elation. There have also been moments of total frustration. I too have shouted from the rooftops about all the amazing discoveries made over the year and like you I’ve had to sometimes deal with the stony silence that has resonated back from the valleys. Why? Why haven’t I turned the world upside down, paved the way for the new and exciting? What is it I’ve not done to dramatically alter the paths of those around me?
Ah ….. yes….. the cards …… I come back to the cards. Rome was not built in a day. It takes longer than three days too. What are the ingredients that will impact on both me and those around me? For the first time, a list is actually formulating in my head. Here goes – my recipe for growth and change – both in myself and in those in my working environment:
- Encouragement: Surrounding ourselves with positive vibes emanating from an encouraging environment is essential. Developing confidence can only be achieved in a safe and secure environment.
- Risking it: Overcoming the fear of the unknown, jumping in feet first and taking a risk is without doubt a key factor that will ensure growth and development. Experimentation with the new ensures that learning from mistakes or successes will occur.
- Immersion: Like learning a foreign language, fluency will be attained only if we practice it all the time. We must constantly expose ourselves to opportunities that will ensure we are observing and learning about new methods and ideologies.
- Time: Taking the time to digest the new and allowing the new to be synthesized with the old is the only way change can occur. It is unreasonable to expect of ourselves or others that new habits and new ways of approaching learning will instantaneously be put into action. Having patience to absorb the new is very important.
- Engagement: Active learning is essential. Don’t sit back waiting to be told how to do something. Jump in and give it a go. Learning by doing is not just an empty phrase.
- Patience: Accepting that Rome wasn’t built in a day is really important to ensure that disappointment and frustration doesn’t take over the mind’s psyche.
- Leadership: Change in an organization will occur if leadership sets in place opportunities for learning and growth. As classroom teachers we constantly provide leadership to our students. Creating safe, secure and directed learning environments in our classrooms sets the scene for learning. Similarly, school leadership sets the scene for teachers learning.
- Collaboration: The joy of learning is enhanced when we share with others. That two heads are better than one is obvious isn’t it. Sharing is also the basis of collaboration.
- Individual differences: Accepting that we are all individuals and that we each have different learning styles is an important ingredient in the learning process. Not comparing our own progress with that of our colleagues is a sure way to avoid the competitive feelings that can detract from continued progress.
- Lifelong learning: Recognizing that learning and teaching are flip sides of the same coin, creates a very powerful learning community. Recognizing that continued learning is something that comes from deep within us is a key to unlocking the realization that none of us ever stop learning. Learning begets learning!