Sunday, September 9, 2012

A quarter of a million people can't be wrong

I used to work in a school where sharing your thoughts, asking questions and wondering if there were better ways of doing things was frowned upon by one or two small minded people who confused critical thinking with criticism.   I started writing a blog where I shared my own thoughts and wonderings because for me writing was survival, reaching out to educators around the world with whom I could have these open discussions and who both supported me and challenged me and made me think deeper.  The number of people who read my blog, who contacted me by email and Twitter, who offered words of support and encouragement, continued to grow and now that I've moved to a really forward looking school I feel it's payback time - I am thankful for all the help I've received over the past 3 years and I want to be helpful in return.  This year I will be sharing some really important, cutting-edge ideas that we are exploring here at ASB as we rethink education and I'm hoping that some of my readers will also find the ideas that I am sharing on this blog interesting enough to take back to their own schools and try out.  We are currently investigating and prototyping a number of different initiatives.  Last year the R&D task forces researched green education, multi-age classrooms, project-based learning, games-based learning, personalized learning, online and blended learning, social technologies and alternative calendars and schedules.  For a school to take on just one of these in a year would be huge, however we are investigating all of them in the R&D core team and the Findings blog is open for everyone to read about them.

Let's put this into perspective.  Only two people have ever told me that they didn't like something that they read on my blog, whereas a quarter of a million people have come here and read something that they obviously liked and found interesting, have come back again to read more and have passed the links to these post onto others.  The numbers themselves continue to astound and humble me.  I hope that the blog posts that I'm writing now will be even more interesting for my readers, as what we are doing here is breaking new ground.    It's not possible to play it safe and break new ground both at the same time so what we are doing involves courage, but what I also know is that everything that has ever been invented started once as an idea in someone's mind - and that idea was nurtured and allowed to grow.  Here at ASB we are doing a lot of nurturing of new ideas - I'm excited to see what they will grow into.

Nurturing the vision and empowering people to make changes is an important part of leadership and in order to be successful the R&D core team will need to consider carefully how to do this.  The Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu suggested:
To lead people, walk beside them … As for the best leaders, the people do not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the people fear; and the next, the people hate … When the best leader’s work is done the people say, ‘We did it ourselves!
Hatred and fear, yes I've known so-called leaders who were thought of in this way.  Honour and praise don't interest me in the least.  But walking beside someone, coaching and mentoring and helping them down the path, yes that's something I know I'm good at.  That's something I want to do.

Photo Credit:  Festival by Poppy,  2006 AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works


  1. What a great post! You inspire me every time I visit your blog. You are on my short list of those whose work I want to emulate! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Thanks Cherie. It has been a long, hard journey for me but the destination is certainly worth it.

  3. Hi Maggie...

    You might not believe this but I keep waiting for your blog to be updated in my RSS feed on my phone. Simply start reading your blogs with lot of enthusiasm and excitement and the end of it really wants me looking for more. How well you can write your views and thoughts which would actually represent many of our thoughts, I am sure. Thanks for sharing the wonderful articles happening at your awesome school..

    Waiting for more....


  4. Thank you for taking the time to comment Rajashree. Now that we are both working in International Schools in India I hope that one day we can meet up and discuss some of these ideas in person.