Hope… to Action

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In two years from now I will no longer be a “parent in the system”. This will add up to a span of 17 years!  I can’t say there weren’t days when I wondered about homeschooling (there were no private school options for us to consider).  We committed to the public education system and set about making the best of it. I knew it wouldn’t be perfect.  It wasn’t always easy to advocate and stand behind our family values, but I felt it was important to model respectful advocacy with and for my children when appropriate.

As a parent, I didn’t always need to know full details of my children’s learning, what their marks were, or what the curriculum covered.  I did want to trust that they were learning and being inspired to learn, and being respected for the learners they are.  I did appreciate it when my questions about the how and why of learning were welcomed and addressed.

While many of the education conversations often centre on the integration of technology and funding issues, I continue with my hopes for changes in other areas as well, such as: Assessment/grading; the use of rewards/punishments; the process allowed for learning, homework, and parent/community inclusion.  Most of all, I hope for learning environments that are humanistic and caring, not just for children, but for staff too.

I believe that good changes will only come by people, for people, and with people (roles may be irrelevant).  When I am no longer an involved parent ‘in’ the system, I hope to still care about public education. These recent years of being more connected online with educators and parents have given me much hope.  I am counting on many in my network/PLN, now and ahead.  I am also still counting on myself to continue to find what I can do.

While I take time to think on my “what” ahead, I would like to share some posts that have encouraged me recently.  I appreciate that these educators and parents have shared their hopes and the work that they are doing in similar areas that I mentioned.  It is also great to see the invitation to others to the conversations and actions.  I may have created my own hopeful echo chamber on Twitter, but I hope readers of my blog who are not on Twitter at all or as much will also welcome this sharing.  Comments are welcome here always, or on the following blogs:

Moving Forward, Together by Brian Harrison @bharrisonp

Some of my parenting wishes for this year by Chris Kennedy @chrkennedy

Creating the Conditions: Student Discipline by Chris Wejr @ChrisWejr

How Necessary is Homework? Join the Discussion by Patrick Larkin @patrickmlarkin, feat. John Spencer’s A Week Without Homework Challenge @Johntspencer

“Cynics and critics.. making the news, creating a scene; Destiny lies in the fools who refuse to give up on a dream..”  (Lyric from Melanie Safka’s, “Smile”)  🙂

Parent Leaders in Education

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I often hear the reference to “parent leaders” in education.  Like many terms and roles in education, it could mean different things in different districts.

In a previous post of mine (Where does a parent fit in effective change in education?), I asked a few questions about parent leaders:

“… if a parent is considered a “parent leader”, what can/should that mean?  Are they only leading parents? Helping the voices and input of other parents?  Does it mean they are focused on supporting changes in education or supporting “student success” (however that might be defined). Can these focuses be one and the same, or how are they different?  And lastly, are parent leaders leading parents or ideas?  If they are leading ideas or change, who can follow? Just parents, or other stakeholders? Who can benefit?”

It is not clear to me what defines a parent leader.  Are they leaders if they are championing an organization’s goal or agenda?  The “place” for parents in general is an on-going debate in education, and it may be that the place and role for parent leaders isn’t any clearer.

In some districts, parent engagement has also been extended to include the idea of choice, or as being a force in addressing low-performing schools.  This is described as “parent trigger”.  Larry Ferlazzo (@Larryferlazzo) has compiled a list of readings that help explain the drawbacks of  “parent trigger”.  I also don’t see this as parent engagement, or that which requires parent leadership.  I don’t think many parents are interested in such “taking over” or having a direct responsibility for school performance.  However, I often wonder… if parents feel they don’t have a place for their voice and input, does this push the desire for more school choice?  I do understand a parent feeling they have a right to their decisions regarding their child.

In my contact and interaction with parents (through organized groups as well as in my work with newcomer adults who are parents) the focus and need is mostly to understand and navigate the education system.  Whether it is to understand how they can advocate for their own child and/or all students, it all has its place to me.  They don’t always want parenting advice, which I reflected about here.

There are many parents who have spent much time supporting other parents with these kinds of questions and efforts.  I invited a few to write guest posts on my blog here and here.  I know that there are also many trustees who help parents in these ways as well.  It can take a lot of time, patience, and commitment.  But I think many parents and trustees continue to do it because they value parent voice in advocating for students, and they are willing to help bring more informed voices “to the table”.  There is often talk about engaging the broader community, but it is often parents with children in school who are most motivated to advocate for change.  Joe Bower (@Joe_Bower) recently blogged about how parents can take a role in change that can take on a different approach compared to other stakeholders.

There may be valid concerns about “volunteer” parents providing support and leadership for other parents, but what would be a better alternative?  Parents often need to connect with other parents – they learn from each other too.  Can trustees or hired parent engagement co-ordinators still provide the same rapport, support and leadership compared to volunteer parents or parent leaders?  It is often said that it has to be “about” the students, but I still believe that there is support of parents by parents that does lead to good outcomes for students.  How are engaged and passionate parents in education guided and included to be a part of solutions and problem-solving?  What is appropriate?

How has a volunteer parent/leader been an asset to your school community or district, or to other parents who want to make a difference in a collaborative way with staff and stakeholders?

Technology Misconceptions?

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It seems like there have been more research articles, blog posts, and tweets lately related to technology and social media use in schools, as well as in the home environment.  A few articles and studies examined the impact of “screen time” on the well-being and development of children.  Studies and research still seem to be in infancy and may not always ask the essential questions.  Sometimes a bias is evident.

I do think we need to be careful in our arguments to promote technology and social media use in schools and elsewhere.  For example, I often hear the argument that because parents aren’t guiding their kids appropriately with online and social media experiences, that it should be taught and modelled in classrooms.  I am certainly interested in supporting that.  However, I am not always sure that enough conversations occur to get at the understanding of why parents may not be doing so, or cannot do so.  Are there too many assumptions?  And if we use that argument, should it hold true then that whenever we feel that parents aren’t teaching something appropriate at home it should be required to teach and model at school?  In Ontario, I haven’t sensed consistent support regarding healthy eating even with a province-wide policy in place for schools.  Some feel that the school cannot support this alone, or it should be left to the home.  Where can partnerships intersect?  And we know how conversations about sexual education can get difficult.  Technology and social media use may not impact family values as food choices and sex education might, but it can — both directly and indirectly.

We may also feel that technology is key in transforming education and learning, and promoting critical thinking, inquiry, and curiosity.  I agree.  I also recognize that there are individuals who still continue to learn, create and demonstrate critical thinking without technology.  If authentic, engaged learning and critical thinking are lacking, it is not just because of a lack of access to technology, is it?  I feel like this is overlooked sometimes in the conversations.

Perhaps I am just overwhelmed by conversations, frustrations and blame cycles lately as I try to remain open-minded and supportive of solid pathways for technology in education, and for engaging parents.

As I have already mentioned to Royan Lee (@royanlee), I admire and appreciate his respectful approach to bringing parents into the conversation and context of how he uses technology in his classroom.  He posted to his blog previously and recently about his efforts and thoughts in this area here.

Let’s keep the lines of conversations respectful, open, and going…

Where does our tweeting land us?

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The content of my twitter stream can be many things – cheerful, peculiar, fascinating, funny, alarming, thought-provoking, conflicting, enlightening, entertaining, and yes, sometimes annoying (which may really mean that I need a break!).  I know there are times when it feels like everyone is just firing out their links, their news, their stuff (sure, I am guilty too!).  It is easy to wonder, “Is anyone talking or learning from one another?”  And then an organized or impromptu chat will appear in my timeline and, yes, conversations, sharing, challenging questions, and learning!  Also empowerment.  And as much as the additional “RTing” may be annoying, I realize that we are often doing so in hope!  We are “RTing” our hopes for change, our philosophy, our inspirations and our struggles.  I am sure that non-tweeters wonder, “What’s up with that?” 🙂  And we hear the warnings of the “echo-chamber”…..

I think many of us get there too:  Why am I on Twitter?  Are we making a difference in education and in our local communities or beyond?  What impact do our tweets and retweets have from the ground level and up?  I often struggle to balance my time and focus on Twitter – which also leads to reading and commenting on blogs, exploring websites and resources, etc.  But I do know that the connecting with people through Twitter networks (often in a very serendipitous way) has been both supportive and empowering, and has provided me with insight and various opportunities for which I am thankful and which may not have happened otherwise.  I am approaching my third year of using Twitter, so I guess I am being reflective.

But still, for those times of self-doubt, I have a few posts from others that I remind myself about (or keep handy for naysayers :)).  Here are a few that arrived likely at just the right time in my Twitter journey:

The Digital Coalition by Chris Kennedy @chrkennedy

The Quiet Revolution in Education by David Wees @davidwees

How Social Media is Changing Education by Chris Wejr @MrWejr

And just posted today…some great questions from Kevin Kerr,  including, “Where do we go next?”

Education Innovation by Kevin Kerr @KERReteach

I know there are others too.  Feel free to add to the list or share what keeps you confident that social media connecting and networking helps you to learn and enhance your role in your school or community, and be a part of change and innovation.

Confidence in Public Education

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I found it interesting how many times I saw The Atlantic article, “What America Can Learn From Ontario’s Education Success” (written by Michael Fullan) get tweeted this past week….from Ontario (where I am) to other provinces, to the US, and back again.  I also checked on the comments on it from time to time.  I read with interest about the three “non-negotiable” priorities referred to:

“Like many school systems, Ontario had too many “top” priorities. The Ministry of Education selected three–literacy, math, and high school graduation–with a commitment to raise the bar for all students and close achievement gaps between all groups. There are other goals, of course, but these three are non-negotiable and take precedence because they leverage so many other learning goals.”

Also interesting to me were the points about teacher accountability:

“By focusing on teacher development, Ontario was also able to raise teacher accountability. Decades of experience have taught Canadian educators that you can’t get greater accountability through direct measures of rewards and punishments. Instead, what Ontario did was to establish transparency of results and practice (anyone can find out what any school’s results are, and what they are doing to get those results) while combining this with what we call non-judgmentalism. This latter policy means that if a teacher is struggling, administrators and peers will step in to help her get better. (There are, however, steps that can be taken if a situation consistently fails to improve.)”

I am trying to understand what the differences may be between “measures of rewards and punishments” and “transparency of results and practice”, and “non-judgementalism”.   Is this the key and desired accountability piece, “anyone can find out what any school’s results are, and what they are doing to get those results”?

So, off I went to the Ontario Ministry website.  On their “What We Do” page, I found mention of three core priorities,

“Our plan to promote a strong, vibrant, publicly funded education system is focused on three core priorities”:

  • High levels of student achievement
  • Reduced gaps in student achievement
  • Increased public confidence in publicly funded education

There are further specifics listed for each priority.  I have been thinking a lot about the third:

Increased public confidence in publicly funded education:

“Our goal is to create strong community-school partnerships and to make publicly funded schools the schools of choice for all parents. We are promoting two-way communication with the public and strengthening the role of schools in communities. By engaging the public and working collaboratively with school boards across the province, we are building a supportive learning environment.”

Following that section, is a list of supporting conditions for all three priorities, “To achieve our three goals we must also ensure a variety of supporting conditions are in place.”  The list included:  Early Childhood Learning; Arts Education; Character Development; Student Engagement; Safe and Healthy Schools; Parent Engagement; Peace and Progress; School Buildings; Small Class Sizes; Professional Learning; Leadership.  You can read some elaboration of these conditions on the link here.

So while I ponder these conditions and specifics more, I thought I would invite others to my thinking 🙂  A few of my questions so far:  Whose confidence should be sought after the most – public, parents, students, other?  Is there stakeholder agreement on what accountability should look like?  I have also been thinking a lot about what makes me confident in publicly funded education and ensures that they are, and continue to be, the “schools of choice” for me as a parent (not that I have been asked or have the right answers).

Where does a parent fit in effective change in education?

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This morning I read a tweet from Chris Coyle (@chriscoyle), an Ontario vice principal, who was in attendance at a symposium hosted by the provincial superintendent’s organization.  He quoted the speaker, Andy Hargreaves, “For effective change people need to feel a part of something bigger and need to be a valued part of the larger purpose.” This pushed forward my thinking on some things, as well as on some discussions I have been involved in recently about parents organizing in more formal structures.

If we can come to the agreement that a parent can have a role in education change and in larger purposes, what is the best way to go about this?  Should they join and participate in whatever organized parent group they can?  At how many levels – local, regional, provincial, national?  I have been reading a few posts and articles lately about the essential role parents can have in education change if included at the school level:

Getting Bold With Parents by Will Richardson (@willrich45)

Building Proactive Parent-Teacher Relationships by José Vilson  (@TheJLV)

Should parents be a part of education change by using social media platforms and networks?  If they do, is it still necessary to be involved in organized parent committees and groups?  Does this make them more “credible”?  How and why?

And if a parent is considered a “parent leader”, what can/should that mean?  Are they only leading parents? Helping the voices and input of other parents?  Does it mean they are focused on supporting changes in education or supporting “student success” (however that might be defined).  Can these focuses be one and the same, or how are they different?

And lastly, are parent leaders leading parents or ideas?  If they are leading ideas or change, who can follow? Just parents, or other stakeholders? Who can benefit?

I think in questions all the time — answered or not, it helps my thinking and decision-making 🙂  I welcome any thoughts, even without the answers. And I welcome more questions 🙂

Parent Involvement and Intrinsic Motivation: A Connection?

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As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am often amazed at the number of resources, research studies, reports, tips and programs available on parent involvement/engagement in education.  It is always great to have resources and research findings to help clarify one’s thinking and planning for this area, and new educators and parents to the system can certainly benefit.  I know that networking on Twitter has helped me access a tremendous amount of resources in this area – print, online, and human.  I also appreciate that research is conducted about parent involvement.  The areas and variables examined are quite extensive.

Recently, I was intrigued by a study shared on Twitter by Steve Constantino (@smconstantino) called, “The effects of parental involvement on students’ academic self-efficacy, engagement and intrinsic motivation.” (Fan, W. & Williams, C.M., Ed. Psych. vol 30, No. 1, 2010)  Another favourite topic of mine included – intrinsic motivation!  I quickly had many questions about how they defined and measured parent involvement, student engagement, intrinsic motivation and “achievement motivation”, and about the age group studied.

Larry Ferlazzo (@LarryFerlazzo) wrote a post on one aspect of the findings here, and the link to the original study can be found there as well.

The number of areas they considered in the study to obtain data about parent involvement, motivation, and student outcomes is quite admirable.  The references of the study were also extensive.  I also appreciated that the study also acknowledged and referenced the following points and limitations:

-parental involvement is generally referred to as parents’ participation in their children’s education with the purpose of promoting their academic and social success (p. 55)

-that mixed research findings might be due in part to the lack of a clear operational definition of parental involvement (p.55)

-that casuality cannot be claimed based on correlational patterns among variables (p. 71)

-That further research providing clearer theoretical definition of parent involvement is needed (p.71)

But my curiosity about parent involvement being examined in relationship to students’ intrinsic motivation kept me reading.  In this study, intrinsic motivation was referred to as being something that exists within and drives spontaneous behaviours of individuals.  Reference was made to studies that indicated that intrinsic motivation had positive outcomes associated with children’s achievement, persistence and effort, self-efficacy, and achievement motivation.  The purpose of this particular study was to examine effects of 8 aspects of parent involvement on adolescents’ academic self-efficacy, engagement, and intrinsic motivation in math and English.

The 8 aspects of parent involvement focused on were: Parental aspiration for students’ postsecondary education; parents’ participation in school functions; family rules reflecting parental supervision (TV, homework, maintaining grades, chores); parental advisory; parent participation in extracurricular activities; parent-school communication concerning school problems, school-initiated communication with parents, and parent-initiated communication with schools on benign school issues.

It is not my intent to refute the findings, but because my youngest child is in Gr. 10 as were the students in the study, it caused me a lot of reflection and I am writing this post from a more personal perspective.  Over the years of my own children’s education, their teachers often commented on their “work ethic”, conscientiousness and engagement with tasks.  I know I should have considered this as always a good thing, but, as it is easy to do as a parent, sometimes I did worry if it meant my kids were being perfectionist, or afraid to make mistakes and/or get a bad grade, or feeling pressured.  Eventually I came back to the confidence I had knowing that I seldom focused on extrinsic motivation to guide their behaviour, and as a family we allowed them a lot of time to explore activities in a self-initiated and self-directed way.  Interestingly, I have never thought about the nature of my parent involvement with the school as having the potential to impact their intrinsic motivation or their motivation to do well and apply themselves in tasks.  When I think about the school-based aspects examined in the study, there are some that I participated in minimally some years, and more in other years.  I don’t recall any significant change in their motivation and performance in school regardless.  We also don’t have hard and fast rules for many of the “rules” examined in the study of the parent involvement aspects at home.  We also make efforts to let them lead in their own post-secondary plans.  It leads me wonder if our efforts to validate and understand something can complicate and/or lead to unnecessary questioning and examining of variables and correlations of data.  As the study stated, “The findings pertaining to parents’ involvement at home and at school are mixed.” (p. 69).  It was also suggested that, “Although the analyses imply that parental involvement significantly predicts the motivational outcomes, it is also possible that students who are more motivated elicit more involvement from parents”. (p. 71)

I also wonder if increased accountability for student achievement data has caused an increase in investigations of aspects of parent involvement that may not be necessary, or even obscure what is important.  What came first:  Valuing parent involvement or pressure to improve student achievement data?  A research summary from the Flamboyan Foundation states, “Though there is widespread consensus that family engagement leads to better student achievement and preparation for life, there is less agreement about the specific practices and strategies that are most effective.” This paper also mentioned the conflicting evidence about homework help.

When I reflect on the different ways that I have been involved and interacted as a parent with schools over the years, I honestly feel that my children would have conducted themselves fairly consistently, regardless.  And because we aimed to support intrinsic motivation at home, I seldom worried that the nature of my involvement would affect their motivation or performance in school.  We were never over-focused on the grades they achieved, so I did not worry if my involvement affected their grades either way.  I suspect that some many have assumed that I was involved to get my kids good grades – but so far from it!  I wanted to support them in all aspects of their lives and help their teachers and principals support them as individuals.  A recent Wall Street Journal article by Tony Wagner about his examination of what helped students become innovators caught my attention.  He interviewed innovators and their parents, teachers and employers.  He concluded that the most important research finding was that innovators are intrinsically motivated.  He also noted that his interviews with parents of today’s innovators revealed some fascinating patterns, “They valued having their children pursue a genuine passion above their getting straight As, and they talked about the importance of “giving back.” As their children matured, they also encouraged them to take risks and learn from mistakes.”  As Wagner concluded, “There is much that all of us stand to learn from them.”

So this brings me to a different question:  Do schools accept, encourage, and allow parents to support their kids in these ways?  Are we examining and communicating what supports these kind of things? Are we looking in the right direction?  I am not sure my own children will be “innovators”, but I do hope they can always respond and follow from what is within.

‘That’ Parent

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I dropped in on the parent-teacher chat (#ptchat) on Twitter last night for the discussion on homework.  Joe Mazza (@Joe_Mazza) did a great job moderating a discussion topic that often gets very robust!  I caught a tweet by Antony Sinanis (@cantiague_Lead) during the discussion that expressed the following, “Can I tell my son’s teacher how I feel about weekend homework? I am always hesitant because I don’t want to be “that” parent!” (He has agreed to my sharing his comment in this post.)  It’s a concern I hear a lot — being labelled “that” parent.  Later I realized that Antony is also a principal.  This concern is not limited to “just” parents.  So it all got me thinking some.  What is this really about?  Why does education create this “that” parent thing?  Are there different kinds of “that” parents?  Is the concern about being “that” parent different if you are also an educator?  How many good questions aren’t asked about schools and education because of the apprehension of being “that” parent?  I am not sure there is straight-forward list of things that would guide anyone in the attempt to never be “that” parent.  What if the area of concern that we want to express, at the risk of being “that” parent, is actually a direct result of conditions created, whether knowing or unknowingly, by a decision-maker?

So I am left wondering about about how many good changes and supports for kids may have been missed because of the “that” parent concern?  What happens to the unsaid questions and concerns of parents when they are no longer parents in the education system?  Do they become “that” community member making a difference, or has some really great input been missed completely?

Please share if you have suggestions that might help others concerned about this.

The Parenting Part of Parent Engagement

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I have been involved in some discussions lately regarding the aspect of parent/family engagement initiatives that involve a focus on parenting skills and resources.  Such initiatives and events are often hosted at the school level, as well as at district-wide levels and may include speakers, workshops, and/or presentations.

Many are familiar with Dr. Joyce Epstein’s “Framework of Six Types of Family Involvement”.  Joe Mazza (@Joe_Mazza) has summarized the framework well and provided information here.  In this framework, Type 1 is listed as “Parenting” with the following suggestions:

Assist families with parenting and child-rearing skills, understanding child and adolescent development, and setting home conditions that support children as students at each age and grade level. Assist schools in understanding families.

With the on-going discussions about the difference between parent involvement and engagement in education, I have been wondering about the extent to which schools and boards are interested in supporting this aspect of outreach to parents.

Are there appropriate ways to support this?  Are there aspects of Dr. Epstein’s “Type 1” that should have more priority?

Ontario’s mandated Parent Involvement Committees (PIC) have their purpose outlined in the Education Act.  Here is the stated purpose of these committees:

“The purpose of a parent involvement committee is to support, encourage and enhance parent engagement at the board level in order to improve student achievement and well-being.” (O. Reg. 330/10, s. 6)

A parent involvement committee of a board shall achieve its purpose by,

(a) providing information and advice on parent engagement to the board;

(b) communicating with and supporting school councils of schools of the board; and

(c) undertaking activities to help parents of pupils of the board support their children’s learning at home and at school. (O. Reg. 330/10, s. 6.)”

Keeping in mind that these board-level committees are made up of parents, educators, community members and trustees, the legislation also provides some of the “how”:

“A parent involvement committee of a board shall,

(a) develop strategies and initiatives that the board and the board’s director of education could use to effectively communicate with parents and to effectively engage parents in improving student achievement and well-being;

(b) advise the board and the board’s director of education on ways to use the strategies and initiatives referred to in clause (a);

(c) communicate information from the Ministry to school councils of schools of the board and to parents of pupils of the board;

(d) work with school councils of schools of the board and, through the board’s director of education, with employees of the board to,

(i) share effective practices to help engage parents, especially parents who may find engagement challenging, in their children’s learning,

(ii) identify and reduce barriers to parent engagement,

(iii) help ensure that schools of the board create a welcoming environment for parents of its pupils, and

(iv) develop skills and acquire knowledge that will assist the parent involvement committee and school councils of the board with their work; and

(e) determine, in consultation with the board’s director of education and in keeping with the board’s policies, how funding, if any, provided under the Education Act for parent involvement as described in section 27 and clauses (a) to (d), is to be used. (O. Reg. 330/10, s. 6.)”

The focus to me does seem to be on parent engagement in student learning, as opposed to general parenting.  Or is this one in the same in some ways? As a member on a PIC, I am very hesitant to tell another parent how to parent.  But if a parent asks for a resource, I will do all that I can do to help them find it.  If the focus is about supporting student learning, what should that look like?  Is it about providing “Literacy Nights” or “Math Nights?  In what ways are parents included and interested in conversations and information about how kids learn or about the “big picture” questions in education?

Also, to what extent should parent engagement efforts be focused on Dr. Epstein’s other 5 types of family involvement–Communicating; Volunteering; Learning at Home; Decision-Making; and Collaborating with the community?

Moving Concerns to Solutions and Change in Education

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If we believe that change can start with individuals, how often can we move conversations regarding a concern into opportunities to engage further in solutions and broader change?  How can we help problem-solving lead to supporting changes in conditions that may have created or sustained the issue or problem? Do we look for opportunity in questions to inform and share different perspectives?  Do we engage enough in partnerships or in a collective way to seek solutions together?

I recognize that some conversations start with specific concerns and need specific strategies to address.  But in our busy schedules do we miss opportunities to help others realize the role that they could have to impact further problem-solving, change, or decision-making—whether a student, parent, teacher, community member?  We are all busy…..but are there other barriers too?

I also recognize that some conversations simply serve a need to vent.  A solution is not really necessary in an immediate way.  And this is okay.  But, if we are listening, venting can reveal misunderstandings about why something is in place and where the decision originated.  More opportunity….

As frustrating as it may be, we may only interact or have conversations with some individuals because of a concern or problem at hand.  So while we may listen and take steps to help solve the immediate problem, should we also remember as much as possible to see if there is an opportunity to continue the conversation at a later date to engage and empower individuals in proactive change that is needed?

Just as I was writing these thoughts, I saw an interesting quote shared in a tweet, “All solutions are in the very words by which people hide and confuse their problems.” (M. McLuhan, in The Executive as Dropout).  I am going to think on that one some more. In the meantime, I hope to be more on the lookout for examples of how proactive and positive change started with a conversation, concern, or question from someone.  I welcome others to share their experiences – whether you took the lead in this, or someone else helped you become more engaged in creating solutions and change in education or in your community.

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