Disaster! In one week, my dance club closed its doors, my husband’s longest-serving employee quit, and Pak n Save stopped stocking my favourite muesli.

For someone who loves order and certainty these events spelled C-R-I-S-I-S, although someone less dramatic might read C-H-A-N-G-E.

OK, we all know that change is good. As good as a rest, apparently - or even a holiday. But in reality, I don’t think I’m the only one to find it a bit scary and time-consuming. This year, though, a few ideas have crossed my path that have helped me embrace change.

Disruptive innovation.
LNNZ friend Lee Crockett says “every part of society is experiencing a complete upheaval due to the chronic and pervasive nature of change. Our schools, like our businesses, must constantly adapt to such conditions to remain active in the market.” This idea that schools may actually become redundant is chilling – but motivating! What are we going to do to ensure schools remain viable? Visit the 21st Century Fluency Project for more on how we can best serve today’s students; while you’re there sign up for the Committed Sardine blog, my favourite weekly read.

Upgrading – not adding.
In an already overcrowded curriculum, teachers are rightly worried when asked to add more. Web 2.0 tools, community interaction, school gardens – all fabulous learning experiences but where do we find the time? Recent visitor Heidi Hayes Jacobs asked three key questions around upgrading our classrooms while avoiding overload: “What do we cut? What do we keep? What do we create?” Check out for forward thinking around curriculum – their ‘clearing house’ takes away the hard work by collating great e-learning tools.

BYOD. As a lover of language I get all excited over new terms. BYOD = Bring Your Own Device, an approach schools like Albany Senior High School are taking. Students are going to pick up their banned phones and ipads the minute they step out of school, so why not make the most of the learning opportunities these devices offer? AP Mark Osborne says, "It makes no sense to ban it [the mobile phone]. We haven't banned paper because kids pass notes. In five to 10 years, students will do most of their computing using phones." Indeed a friend of mine whose laptop just died is considering not replacing it, but instead buying just an Android phone for all her online needs. Rad!

Mindset. This book, by Carol Dweck, is a real shake-up. She talks about the ‘fixed mindset’ versus the ‘growth mindset’. In a nutshell, people with the former believe their basic qualities, like intelligence or talent, are fixed traits. People with the latter believe that their abilities can be developed through hard work. Dweck claims that “Teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in the worlds of business, education, and sports. It enhances relationships.” And I have to agree – since reading the book I’ve found myself much more open to change – both internal and around me. A must-read for your personal and professional life!

James Nottingham has worked alongside Professor Dweck and we’re lucky enough to be hosting him next month at two events; he’s also presenting at the ILT conference in Invercargill if you fancy a trip south.

There’s no point in change for the sake of change. But I wonder ....
  • What are you doing differently now, compared to ten years ago – or a year ago?
  • What changes do you plan to make to your teaching practice this year?
  • How are you upgrading your classroom?
  • How are you modelling being a lifelong learner who embraces new challenges?
Look forward to your comments. In the meantime I’m off to sample some new brands of muesli.

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