Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Dream School - Perhaps you are already there?

This post is in response to the #EdBlogNZ March challenge of writing about your dream school.  

I have been thinking about this and reflecting on the challenge all month.  Initially my mind went wild - and I conjured up all kinds of wonderfulness.  It was interesting really, because as much as I can dream big and imagine a most wonderful of place for students, teachers and community to experience the journey of education, it always came back down to something quite basic.  

You see, it is not about 'stuff'.  

I have blogged about this before in relation to 'Modern Learning Environments' (more recently coined 'Innovative Learning Environments') and you can read that post here.  Like that post, it boils down to something far more intrinsic.  

It is about people.  

I have been luckier than most, in that I have had the opportunity to design a new school from scratch, complete with shortlisting and interviewing architects and project managers, and dreaming big with a blank canvass.  It was an amazing process, and despite an outcome that was less than ideal (it is a long story for another day but suffice to say it did not result in a new school), what was undeniable was the process and the learnings from it.  

That is why I know it is about people.  

Let me clarify.  

You see, my dream school is not about the buildings, the technology or the 'whizzy and bangy' sparkly things.  These are 'nice to haves' but they are not what makes a school special.   Instead, it is about the shared vision, the team, the community and most importantly it is about the students.  My dream school is a place that has cohesion.  It is collaborative, provides the space for innovation to grow and thrive, is agentic across all members of the community, is owned and developed by that community and helps to grow the capability and capacity of everyone.  In short, it is a place people want to be.  

Here is the thing - anyone of us can have this 'dream' school, and whilst we may not feel that every day is a dream day, there is no reason why we can't make it happen.  

So, I leave you with this challenge.  

If you are leader, what will you do tomorrow to work towards building your dream school?  If you are a teacher, what can you do tomorrow to make your class your dream class? If you are a parent, what can you do tomorrow to work with the school your child goes to, to help grow it into your dream school (there are Board elections soon - is this an avenue for you to make a difference)?   If you are a student, what can you do tomorrow to build your dream school?  

Our schools are what we make of them, and every single one of them can be a dream school.  So, what is stopping you? 

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