Have you ever had a great idea about how to improve your classroom practice or how you perform your duties as an administrator, and then "shelved" it for fear of having the idea rejected by the decision makers? In George Couros' (@gcouros) book, The Innovator's Mindset, he talks about the power of "no" versus a culture of "yes". He writes, the problem is that when you say "no" to innovation - for any reason - people feel reluctant to attempt trying new things in the future. No one wants to work in an environment where they feel their ideas or input does not matter, whether they are a teacher in a school or an administrator in a school division. This thinking also applies to students as well. Why would a student take a risk if there is a culture of "no" in their classroom?
Stop and think for a moment about the school you are in right now. Is there a culture of risk taking? If not, how can you start planting the seeds for growth?
This morning I had the privilege of speaking with an innovative grade 7 teacher (@SalzlJackie) about assessment, progress reports, tests, and just what it is we are doing to allow students to "show what they know". This was a great conversation because a lot of it was Jackie talking about what she wants to try next year and how she is going to start gathering resources as she builds towards this. When she left the office I had to smile because there has been a culture of "yes" established at our school. Does this mean everyone is taking risks all the time? No, but people who are risk takers are also those who create ripples, and those ripples effect others in the building.
What would the ripple effect have been had I said, "no, forget it"?
As always, comments are welcome!