Inspired by Simon Sinek’s Tedx talk How great leaders inspire action, our Instructional Leadership Team spent a meeting recently reflecting on the importance of keeping the WHY and HOW in mind in our work as educators.
In our district, we are immersed in the shift to proficiency-based learning and reporting. Teachers at all levels are working hard to understand the essential learning targets for which they are responsible for instructing and assessing in order to provide guaranteed and viable curriculum access for all students. We are embracing our taxonomies and backward design templates. We are considering levels of rigor, planning differentiated instruction, and identifying formative and summative assessment opportunities. We are supporting our colleagues, students, families, and communities in defining and comprehending proficiency-based learning.
Our leadership team discussed that there is significant focus on the WHAT involved in this work. It is necessary WHAT for sure. We need to have common language and shared understanding of learner outcomes and effective instructional and assessment practices. We need our stakeholders to understand WHAT it is that we are doing in our classrooms and to prepare students for their futures.
Our team also reflected on the need to balance the WHAT with the WHY and the HOW. Indeed it is the WHY and the HOW that is behind the creation of the makerspace that is the focus of this blog. The fab lab and the teaching that we promote within it speak to beliefs about the WHY and the HOW of our work as educators, as teachers, and as learners. Our stated goals for the makerspace this year are to #inspire, to #engage, to #collaboratetocreate.
HOW learners are inspired is with opportunities to explore their passions and interests. Acting as facilitators of learning is HOW we support students in viewing themselves as the teachers.
WHY learners are engaged is because they are solving problems and stepping up to challenges which they are involved in defining. Knowledge and skills are connected to meaningful tasks is WHY students are motivated to learn.
HOW learners learn best is when ideas are shared, evaluated, adapted and adopted by teams and groups. Collaboration leads to enhanced creation is WHY.
It will not always be easy–maintaining an effective balance between the WHAT we do and the WHY and HOW we do it. But it is work in which we must persevere. We must do it because it is HOW we will elevate learning for all of our students. We must do it because it WHY we will be leaders who can inspire action.