An insert in the morning Gazette caught my eye and got me thinking about teaching and creating a continuous learning environment that is reflective and responsive to what our students and staff need.
The article I read has a business lens, but far reaching ideas for other areas. It is titled, A beautiful mind. By Dave DeWitte -Taken from The Gazette, February 20, 2011, the Business 380 insert.
Highlighted Portion: In the current climate of slow or stagnant growth, Brown said, it’s tempting for companies to cut budgets for learning. That can have long-term consequences for an organization. Eliminating learning opportunities within an organization can prompt employees who are most interested in learning to look at leaving, Brown said. “People who really want to learn are also likely to be the best employees. You’ll be left with the people who aren’t interested in learning.”
What made me pause here was thinking about why is there a lot of turnover in our schools? Does this paragraph ring true in our context? Are there multiple reasons and factors for this? In no way am I de-valuing those who have been at, and remain in, our building for an extended period of time. Those individuals are some of our best leaders of learning. It’s just that I have been thinking about how many people have come and gone from my life in the short time I have been in education. Some of the most influential people in my life have only been around for a short time before spreading their wings and moving on for various reasons. Why?
In this time of focusing on curriculum mapping, 21st century learning, standards, and closing achievement gaps; there has been a more muted conversation about developing and sustaining systems. What I think about a lot is creating, maintaining, and sustaining a continuous learning organization that values and acknowledges the talent of our collective group, and maybe more importantly, one that is grown, maintained, and sustained from within. Not prescribed by others.
The list below was also taken from the same article. By quick glance many of these things we can say are part of our learning environment. However, what I tried to do was go through each and give examples of what I currently see in action that is owned by those from within. As I went through each I asked myself, who’s leading the charge, who sets the agenda, how are we assessing progress, and how are we being responsive to OUR data?
How to Build a Continuous Learning Organization
· Encourage-Networking, internally and externally
· Provide-Employees with “space” to learn
· Share-best learning practices within the organization
· Avoid-disrupting “learning networks” during budget cuts and layoffs
· Offer-learning opportunities and/or incentives
· Incorporate-learning into the corporate climate.
As this is not a comprehensive list, it was a good one to get some thoughts stirred about owning and customizing continuous learning on a Sunday morning with a good cup of coffee!