Thursday, March 19, 2009

Reflection- A Personal Commitment to Thinking Out Loud

For 35 years I have spent a tremendous amount of time thinking, reading, and learning. Most of those thoughts have occurred in private with some of my favorite books whether they be books about leadership, systems change, quantum mechanics, chaos, living-systems, string-theory , self-help, personal-improvement, brain-based learning, positive psychology or any number of other topics that I find fascinating. With that said, I realize that the world has changed and the incredible tools of Web 2.0 have created a space for all of our thinking to be public and shared with the world. The quality of thinking is not a prerequisite for publication which means that all of us have equal footing in expressing ourselves. I have decided that this blog will serve as the repository for my thinking, and as I continue to read and learn I will discuss the implications of what I am learning and reading as it relates to the educational futures of young people and what might be done to incorporate this learning into practice.

I believe that we limit the thinking of our children when we do not engage in deep reflective thinking ourselves. As educators the quality of our thinking should mirror the quality of thinking we hope that our students achieve. In the 21st century the requirements for thinking at extremely high levels are a demanded of the world, no longer the luxury of an elite educated class. For a fabulous book on the subject of the thinking required in the 21st century I recommend A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink. If you are like me and one book is simply not enough I also recommend Five Minds for the Future by Howard Gardner of multiple intelligence fame. These books provide fabulous insight into both why this type of thinking is a requirement in the 21st century as well as what this thinking is.

With the knowledge that I will be assuming the role of principal at Cross Middle School on July 1, 2009 I recognize that I must become a participant in this globally connected world and subject my thinking to the scrutiny of the public. I cannot be a bystander while I benefit from the incredible insights and knowledge that I gain from others by reading their blogs, books, and posts while I give nothing back to this vast digital resource.

So this blog is my personal commitment to the reflective thinking that I think all people must engage in if they are to achieve high levels of personal learning and take on the most vexing problems of his/her personal and professional life. When we write reflectively we crystallize our thinking, we make manifest the most salient components of our values, and we clarify our identity, mission, and vision. There is no question in my mind that there are few things a leader could engage in that would have a greater impact on the organizations they serve. Beyond that, I know that when students reflect, question, consider, and ponder, the beginnings of deep transformational learning are engaged and the possibility for profound positive change is unleashed.

It is my hope that my thinking may be of benefit to others and spark their learning as so many others have ignited my passion for thinking, and if I am the only one who ever reads this I trust that writing for the purpose of clarifying my thinking will yield positive actions aligned with new insights. My commitment is to post at least once per week and to create a pattern of reflective writing in my life as opposed to just reflective thinking. I hope others will join me on this journey.

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