Making Meaning of the Learning

We just finished another three great days meeting as the Mathematics Leadership Network (MLN) - a group of educators from boards of education across Northeastern Ontario, looking to further our development as mathematics learners and leaders.

Part of the learning in this latest round was centred on Michael Fullan's book, Indelible Leadership. In it, he discusses six big tensions when it comes to deep leadership. Two of those tensions - Lead & Learn in Equal Measure, and Feed & Be Fed by the System - really resonated with me.

Both of these tensions underscore the importance of reflection in one's practice. When learning (a fundamental part of leading), Fullan quotes John Malloy in saying: "...there has to be...vehicles, protocols, processes to actually reflect upon the learning, to make meaning out of what is emerging from the learning and then articulate from that." In order to give new learning meaning, we need to take the time to consolidate what we learn, ponder what we still wonder, and plan our next steps for continuing the learning process.

He also discusses what he feels are essential characteristics of quality networks, which include "frequently interacting and learning inward," and "connecting outward to learn from others." While it's all well and good to (passively) learn from a network, we gain even more by (actively) interacting with, and contributing to, the network.

Both of these tensions have got me thinking about blogging - and how though I have the best of intentions, I never seem to be able to reflect and/or share as much as I like. I have a list of ideas for blog posts in the front of my notebook (I jot them down as I think of them) that grows ever longer as other tasks take priority.

So along the lines of my One Word for 2018 (IMPLEMENT), I'm going to implement the learning around leadership that I've done recently by committing to set aside some time every Friday to reflect and share a blog post. As starters, the last Friday of the month can be a reflection on how I am IMPLEMENTing what I learn, while another Friday can be in response to the #blogamonth prompt (on which I'm also sadly behind).

While I am obviously not one to consult on how best to blog on a regular basis, one trick I've found is to set a time limit. For 30 uninterrupted minutes, I write as much as I can on a topic. When my alarm goes after that half hour, I give myself 10 minutes to polish, edit, re-arrange, and close out the post. When I can commit to this, it's a nice way to get stuff on digital paper without having the process drag out.

I would be interested in hearing how you keep on top of regular reflecting (either through a blog or through other means) and I look forward to continuing to learn from my network!

Comments

  1. I set aside a specific deadline for myself too. To say “once a week” isn’t enough. I blog about math on Friday. I blog for VoicEd on Wednesday. Etc. And I forgive myself when things like report cards need to take precedent, but that’s it. No excuses. I like your timer idea!

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    1. Hi Lisa! I like that you've got specific topics to blog about on certain days. That's what I'm hoping to do with my Fridays... schedule a semi-regular topic so that my first battle isn't "what do I feel like writing about?" :)

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  2. I struggle with this as well. How do we learn, reflect, plan new learning and share, while leading learning for others? This year I started a weekly newsletter for my teams which is simply some of the learning that stood out for me during the week, but it isn't the deep, planned learning that I'm looking for.

    But I too recently studied Indelible Leadership, and my challenge is balancing the learning and leading. How do I use the learning in my leading? How do I package messages in a way that makes them valuable to others, to help them ask good questions and stay curious?

    I do find the structure helps. Let's keep supporting each other in this reflective work.

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