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Monthly Archives: April 2011

After a Short Sabbatical

I have not posted for awhile due to a variety of reasons. During spring break, I attended the ASCD conference. As well, I have been writing a paper.

The latter experience has provided food for thought about mental models. Writing the paper has at times been a struggle. Largely, this has been self-induced. I have never used a paid editor, but I fell short in my writing. This required reflection. I had to recognize a shortcoming. It required humility to say, “I need help and I don’t know it all.” Otherwise, completing my PhD is not viable.

How often do we ignore needs in daily practice, classrooms, schools, and jurisdictions? No one is so expert they can ignore the wisdom of others. Students lose. Educators need to boldly go where educators have not gone before.

Peter Senge in his book “The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization (2006) suggested mental models impede or accelerate learning. We need to surface and challenge mental models (p. 167). First, we need to know and surface what impedes individual and collective growth. Second, we must acknowledge there are alternative views based perspective. Third, we need to accept alternative views might be better. We need dialogue. This is more than lip service through idle, banal posturing to promote fads or prove we know the vocabulary. I had to admit my writing needed more. I enjoy listening to people tell me how hard change is. I know. My life is full of change. This is a second career spanning 40 years in the workplace.

More recently, admitting I needed an editor was humbling and difficult. Surfacing an outdated mental model about my writing was essential. If I am to live my moral purpose (see Michael Fullan) both as a person and as a teacher, I need to say, “I am a learner.” I acknowledged this, in a small way, about writing a scholarly paper.

Change with the ideal of learning at the heart separates “bandwagoneering” and attempts to make substantive differences. It begins with, “How do I make a difference in a real, substantive way?” This requires entering into a dialogue with your heart.

Lee Bolman and Terrance Deal (sorry no link) in their book Leading With Soul: An Uncommon Journey of Spirit orient educational leadership to serve those in classrooms, schools. jurisdictions, and communities. We serve. This is a new mental model, but not one of mere words. It requires real action demonstrating real change.

“In matters of spirit, wisdom and experience, count far more than technique or strategy. Wisdom comes from within rather than without” (1995, p. 169). Turn inward, find a guide on your spiritual journey, and listen to the wisdom of those who journeyed before you.

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