We are only three weeks in to the #IMMOOC (The Innovator’s Mindset massive online open course) and already I feel like I have learned so much! I have made so many new and amazing connections and I am loving the energy of the group! This week’s guest for the live episode (Kaleb Rashad) had amazing energy and tons of personality!
I loved when Kaleb mentioned meeting the needs of every single learner in our ecosystem. I don’t remember much of what I learned in science as a kid, but for whatever reason, I remember a lot of what I learned about ecosystems.
Because I learn best through analogical reasoning, I immediately started comparing how schools are like ecosystems. I get excited when an analogy works well for me, and I got carried away with this for a while. I started thinking about the people in a school as the biotic members of the ecosystem, and the technology and resources as the abiotic factors that support the growth of its biotic members. I imagined biotic members working together symbiotically, the adaptations that can occur, and the food chain (where unfortunately the analogy didn’t work so well for me). I’ll spare you all of the details of my geek-out session, and focus instead on what I feel is important in laying the groundwork for a healthy and innovative ecosystem or learning community.
This week, while reading (and watching) about laying the groundwork, I considered everything that was discussed in two different contexts, first with an administrator as leader of a school, and second with a teacher as leader of a classroom.
Everything I took in, really applied in both contexts. Here is an acrostic summary of some of what I took away from this week:
In order to lay the groundwork, leaders must:
Invest in their people (investment vs. expenditure)
Network. Get outside of the walls of their office, classroom, school.
Nurture relationships. Care for their people.
Open their heart. Share their hopes, dreams and fears. Let their people see their human side and who they really are.
Voice, choice and autonomy.
Act as a role-model, and risk-taker.
Trust their people more than they feel comfortable with.
Empathize with their people. Understand who they are, what they hope, what they fear, etc.
Looking at the list above, it can all really be summarized into my favourite word, RELATIONSHIPS! It all comes down to the fact that humans are creatures of attachment. Relationships empower us! A leader’s first focus should always be the heart work!