Following are a few observations from our CSRI gathering :
- Permission and policy directives aren’t the change drivers. Rather, there is a grass roots movement to refresh what we know to change what we do. It’s influencing how people invest professional and personal energy. Their commitment to being part of a change initiative is deep, wide and action oriented. That’s not a surprise; it’s evident that there are more and more people willing and ready to jump start change efforts through micro-networks of support and sharing;
- We know things aren’t going to get less complex any time soon. We also know our highest priority has to be to make the essential difference to support over-represented vulnerable populations: Aboriginal learners, Children in Care, refugee and other high needs immigrant groups. It isn’t a matter of asking everyone to work 10% harder. Professional effort isn’t the variable. Success happens when people build on what we saw at the Round Table: positive curiosity and energy throughout the room, building micro-networks, sharing stories, strategies and resources;
- Introducing good ideas without a diffusion strategy feels like a candle in the wind. We know how often those efforts have bloomed and withered and how difficult it can be to activate the next one. David Albury from the Innovation Unit in London innovationunit.org says it well. He has studied and written/spoken about what it takes for innovation to go deep and what it looks like when it flounders. It isn’t a matter of hierarchical endorsement or the amount of money committed or a number of well-worn but flawed approaches to initiating change. Take a look at the Innovation Unit website for enlightened commentary on how implementation thrives. David’s experience across education, government and industry shines a light on how to move beyond exciting “pilot” projects into the So What/Now What? focus required to go deeper and broader to sustain momentum. System transformation can’t happen without that.
- It’s time to end the “silo” metaphor in our work with kids. Silos are great for keeping the grain dry and the rats out. Apparently, they are also essential in long-range missile operations. But in our work, they just don’t fit. The Round Table included professionals from outside the school system whose work is focused directly on dysregulated/resource-poor children and their families. These colleagues operate in government and non-government agencies with a mandate to change the life trajectory of our most vulnerable young people – the very kids who need a coordinated systems response that is thoughtful, research-based, strategic and aligned. Their work is our work but there is a palpable frustration that we haven’t yet figured out how to share and initiate joint work plans, specific strategies, access to resources and communications protocols.
- System self-regulation has many of the same attributes as individual self-reg. Dysregulated systems don’t create environments where students are calm, focused and ready to learn. It makes sense that neurophysiology applies to groups: our organizations are made up of people. Here’s the link to my blog and a previous post on that topic: http://mikemckay.ca/?p=2223
- Celebration is a positive contagion in the work of educators and other human services professionals. It is fueled when people are willing to open their professional practice to colleagues and give selflessly of their resources and their experiences. We saw and heard that at the CSRI Round Table. Here is one lighthouse example of what that looks like: energy, reflective professional practice and a belief in the difference we make. Enjoy the regular blog posts from a West Vancouver teaching team. http://theselfregulatedteacher.com