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Critical Transformations: 15 Tools | Ecology of Education

Critical Transformations: 15 Tools

Critical Transformations, ASCD’s 2010 Annual Conference, in San Antonio, TX.

Major seismic shifts can transform instructors, and by proxy, instruction. However, more often than not, it’s just the opposite.

Slight shifts cumulatively lead to substantive change.

In looking to critically transform how we teach, learn and administer our education system, the get-’er-done-quick-n-big approach often leads to a horse race mentality.

“Achievement on the first turn, picking up the pace. Performance lags on the straight away, lengthening the gap between States and Standards. District X is pulling ahead, while Schools falls behind. Proficiency, rounding the final turn, looking strong, but oh-no, a slip on tricky patch of poor teaching and. . .”

It gets tiring. (Plus, I’m beginning to suspect that it is the politicians placing the bets and setting the odds.)

Instead, when we focus on attaining stated, achievable goals we find that at the intersection of opportunity and possibility, a flooded riverbed can become the River Walk.

Transforming education and how we teach matters. It’s called growth, and it begins with a small acts.

Sometimes the most profound catalysts are tiny:

  1. Shifts in how we perceive this generation of students. (via @ASCD_Inservice)
  2. Stoking the fire of efficacy and our belief in each student. (via @ASCD_Inservice)
  3. Implementing just one project. (via @bengrey)
  4. Reflecting on and incorporating some tenets of effective leadership. (via @JasonFlom)
  5. Building bridges beyond the classroom/school walls. (via @angelamaiers)
  6. Learning new tools that change how we view our surroundings. (via @edteck)
  7. Embracing students’ love of games. (via @vgloucester)
  8. Exploring the possibilities of connective technology to ensure learning for all. (via @beckyfisher73, @paulawhite, @kwmarcus1)
  9. Take the “Nothing is Impossible” leap of faith. (via @bjnichols)
  10. Looking ahead and charting a course. (via @ASCD)
  11. Incorporating some aspect of Globalization into learning. (via @stevejmoore & @JasonFlom)
  12. Mixing up the traditional with imagery. (via @glovely)
  13. Being ever mindful of our language. (via @joe_bower)
  14. Fighting, always, for the Whole Child. (via @WholeChildAdv)
  15. Learning does matter. (via @John_Merrow)

Transformation unseats the status quo. Unsettling the status quo necessitates leaving our comfort zones, and risks failure. However failure, if utilized properly, can be as powerful a teacher as success.  Sometimes even more so.

As educators & leaders we must provide safe and supportive environments for those in our charge — be they students, teachers, or principals — to take the chances that lead to new heights.

It is in the realm of the unknown (where we can pursue dreams and push our limits) that we begin to critically transform what is into what can be.

Image: Room 34 at Tovashal Elementary School

(My apologies to all the great people and resources that deserve to be included. I could not include everything. In this age of data deluge, it’s just not possible.  Was not intentional. Please include additional resources in the comments, please.)


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Author:Jason Flom

Learner. Educator. Reader. Writer. Cyclist. Part-time Polyanna. Husband. Daddy. Founder, Ecology of Education. Director of Learning Platforms, Q.E.D. Foundation. Twitter: @JasonFlom. LinkedIn: Jason Flom; Edutopia's Green School Group; and doing dishes while pretending to be a professional underground rapper. "I regard it as the foremost task of education to insure the survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity, an undefeatable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, readiness for sensible self denial, and above all, compassion." Kurt Hahn
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  • http://twitter.com/jasonflom/status/10277249121 Jason Flom

    "Critical Transformations: 15 Tools, Ideas, & Resources" from #ASCD10 http://bit.ly/cDWZ8h

  • http://twitter.com/drgarcia/status/10277624615 GNA Garcia

    I love lists. RT @JasonFlom: "Critical Transformations: 15 Tools, Ideas, & Resources" from #ASCD10 http://bit.ly/cDWZ8h

  • http://twitter.com/jasonflom/status/10278406855 Jason Flom

    Included you in this #ASCD10 post http://bit.ly/cDWZ8h @joe_bower @ASCD_Inservice @glovely @BeckyFisher73 @bengrey @angelamaiers @kwmarcus1

  • http://twitter.com/edteck/status/10278941950 Peter Pappas

    Critical Transformations: 15 Tools  | Ecology of Education great #ascd10 summary from @JasonFlom http://bit.ly/a1iKcQ

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  • angelawatson

    Jason, I love this. What a fabulous way to compile and share the collective wisdom we gained this weekend. Well done. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/jackiegerstein/status/10296782675 JackieGerstein Ed.D.

    RT @JasonFlom: "Critical Transformations: 15 Tools, Ideas, & Resources" from #ASCD10 http://bit.ly/cDWZ8h

  • http://twitter.com/tucksoon/status/10297899352 Kwan Tuck Soon

    RT @JasonFlom: "Critical Transformations: 15 Tools, Ideas, & Resources" from #ASCD10 http://bit.ly/cDWZ8h

  • glovely

    Thank you for the kind mention. I am honored to be in this list.


  • jasonflom

    What blows my mind is that this is only the tip of the iceberg. So many resources still out there.

  • jasonflom

    Your site of images tools is fantastic. I had to pull myself out of it and get to work (kicking and screaming, I might add).

  • http://twitter.com/blairteach/status/10325350014 Nancy Blair

    RT @JasonFlom "Critical Transformations: 15 Tools, Ideas, & Resources" from #ASCD10 http://bit.ly/cDWZ8h

  • http://twitter.com/ascd_inservice/status/10340996504 Laura Varlas

    great synthesis of ideas from #ascd10 RT @JasonFlom "Critical Transformations: 15 Tools, Ideas, & Resources" http://bit.ly/cDWZ8h

  • http://twitter.com/drmmtatom/status/10371469088 Monte Tatom

    Critical Transformations: 15 Tools http://tinyurl.com/yhgvbhm #fhuedu508

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