Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Thoughts on Enculturation

In an effort to be transparent, and to introduce myself to the group, I am thought of as an out-spoken person. I say thought of because I don't usually see myself that way, but the number of times that I have been told otherwise belie that self assessment.

I say that because I am going to be out-spoken about something that I see daily, the culture of my school and district. I loved (see proof below) the phrase "residuals of education" (p. 19). Shelby spoke to this in one of her comments. It's what's left when the student has left the classroom, school, district, formal education world. It is the "soft skills" that everyone is spending some much time talking about. It is what we are wanting to give to our students if we are reading this book.

The residuals of learning come when we give students the gift of a disposition, "an enduring characteristic or trait of a person that serves to motivate behavior." (pg. 19) And we can only give the gift of these dispositions--curiosity, problem solving, forward thinking, compassion, innovation, etc.--if our culture immerses the students in those things. (pg. 20) Not just schools, but homes as well, and I am very guilty of not being the best #culturesofthinking mom!

I hear a lot of lip service given to creating students who are 21st Century ready. Students who are ready to tackle a world that is ever changing. Students who will join the workforce as strong, competent, lifelong learners and leaders. A lot of folks are saying that they believe the story of a culture of thinking (pg. 21).

The culture of my campus, and largely of the district, and of the nation as a whole, is not telling this story. There are so many pockets of amazing things happen, but in order for the disposition to be created, the enculturation cannot just come in pockets. There are classrooms on every campus that are filled with the kind of culture that will instill these dispositions in our students, and you can tell from the moment you walk into those classes what the culture is. The trick is to make this culture systemic.

I think the fact that people are talking about creating cultures of thinking is a positive sign. There has to be some spark if there is smoke! I think that education is key to moving people from talking about cultures of thinking to living cultures of thinking. We must, as leaders, nurture this culture in our adults. Teachers, staff, administration, parents--all need to be immersed in this culture too. How often are we told what to do and rewarded if we do it correctly? Even as adults. The ubiquitous jeans pass comes to mind--what wouldn't a teacher do for a jeans pass? As a parent I feel it too, the need to have my children conform so that I look like a good mom.

We can do this! We can create a new culture. It will be a long road, but it will be worth it. The smartest person in the room is the room right? Look what a smart and creative room we have. Ritchhart quotes David Jakes on page 30, "Creating a new story requires that the author or authors of that new story cast aside the destructive 'Yah But' mentality, and ask 'What If?'" Sara Wilke called it "Yes. And?" as Karen likes to remind me.

Let's do it! Let's only ask "What If?" from here out. Let's answer negativity and excuses with "Yes. And?"

What if this blog is the start of a truly fabulous collaboration that is going to create a culture of thinking in our schools and district? It can happen!

No comments:

Post a Comment