Available Resources: Making Them Come Alive

This week has been filled with many reflections…perhaps because our district returned to our formal, system level learning structures…and with that, my focus returned to where I am passionate, the learning agenda.  I don’t want to give the wrong impression – learning has continued in earnest in our district in spite of the “pause” due to the labour conditions – as evidenced by the work of our dedicated staff.  However, this week, to “hear”  (via teleconference and their posts) the voices of our educators, modelling the Conditions for Learning (collaboration, risk taking, relationship building, responding to the needs of their learning) at their sites, I felt energized.

My role at this session was the highlight our SGDSB Theory of Action, and to connect it to the work not only for the learning environment that we were in (our Book Study Group), but also so that our educators could further see the connections of the strategies that form this theory of action to their classroom work. We are endeavoring to make these connections explicit in all that we do – our Leads are beginning every learning session by connecting their goals to the strategies in this graphic, our principals are embedding this graphic into many different structures, etc.  We are saying that this graphic needs to be on the “table” and engaged with at every learning session.  Why this relentless push?

Through my many reflections (my head is spinning), I am landing on the following:

Capturetaught but didn't learn

obtained from http://www.magma.ca/~raksim/facilitation.html

Because there continues to be confusion regarding the learning agenda in our district – we could say that we are at the Awareness Stage of Implementation – staff have seen this document and it was discussed at our Leadership Learning Team meetings and it has been a focus for Principal meetings.  We know, however, that we need to do more than produce and discuss documents that reflect our work. That isn’t going to ensure that the desired understanding and learning is happening. Yes, we need to produce and discuss these documents/tools as they keep us focused, however we also need to ensure that we reflect on, embed, revisit, make connections to (repeat again and again)…in order to move further towards ensuring that the thinking and learning that is reflected in these documents actually happens. The documents must come to life in our work, or risk being shelved.  Just like in the classroom, the charts that are on the walls need to actually anchor thinking – how we use these charts with students will determine the extent of their value. This week, we pulled out many of our powerful resources and had the chance to revisit them and then think about how we can embed them into our work so that they come alive again as tools to support thinking and processes…so that we can collect evidence that leads us to say, “we taught it and they learned it”.

This reflection caused me to think about our SGDSB Theory of Action again, and the notion that it is a tool that summarizes our collective work for the past several years…and helps us to see how this work is connected and contributing to our future goal. Simon Breakspear reminds us to “honour the past” – I think that we can increasingly bring this document alive by first asking our educators to connect the learning that they have engaged in for the past several years to the strategies and thinking contained in this document, and to celebrate this work.  Only then can we move forward toward seeing it as a document that guides our work into 2018.

Capturehistorical overview



Until Next Week…where does your past work connect? 




6 responses

  1. When you are in the moment it is hard to see the growth that has occurred over time. It is only when we take time to reflect back that we see how past actions have influence current practices. We also see how our lack of action has been impactful for our own learning and students. We really have to create our own learning and as the assessment cycle shows- set our own goals!


    1. It is so true Heidi…it is hard to see growth and it is those reflections that help us for sure. I am guessing that is why this “pause” can be seen as such a valuable time. Thanks for reading and for posting your thoughts.


  2. I recently came across a quote that read creating a policy can be done in an afternoon changing a culture can take years. Our theory of action has evolved with our collective learning which has in turn had a direct impact on the culture. In the last couple of weeks I am seeing more and more evidence of that change in culture. I am looking forward to the Efficacy Review as it will provide us with further evidence of how far we have come.


  3. Really taking the time to reflect is the change that appears to be taking the longest (at least for me). I think that as we learn how to do this more efficiently and effectively the growth can occur more quickly. Seeing the growth of the Theory of Action over time allow people to see their learning embedded and connected throughout.


  4. I believe we can learn from this pause; many have indicated that they have enjoyed the time for reflection and that it is important to reflect, but if we only reflect and do nothing with our reflection then where does this leave us? As it has been stated, SGDSB has many resources, it’s taking the time to go through them, understand what they are saying and how they fit into each of our school, board, personal actions plans. Personally, this is where my critical friend(s) support my thinking … we have conversations and it is through these conversations that I learn more about my own thinking and am able to rethink my plan and try to implement with precision.


    1. Great post Nancy! Thanks for the thinking and sharing!


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