Muhammad conversation highlights: Day 2

Have you had a chance to stop by our ongoing Voicethread conversation on transforming school culture with Solution Tree author Anthony Muhammad yet?

If you haven’t, you’re missing one of the most powerful focused conversations that I’ve been a part of in the past few months!  Together there are dozens of incredibly bright minds wrestling with change agency, teacher leadership, and effective staff development.  Every time that I stop in to read new comments, I have my own thinking challenged—and challenged thought is good thought!

If you’re looking to get caught up quickly, check out this summary of yesterday’s commentsYou might also be interested in these highlights from today’s conversation:

On slide 4, Randy—who is a Superintendent in New York—makes an interesting distinction when defining “Believers.”  Believers, he argues, are NOT defined by the work they do beyond the classroom, but instead by their commitment to—and willingness to ensure—-student success in the classroom.  That’s got me wondering:  Are school leaders satisfied with Believers who do great things in the classroom, or are they actively seeking Believers willing to work beyond the classroom?  Is it possible for Believers to make meaningful contributions in school change efforts WITHOUT seeking to influence their peers?

On slide 5, David Cohen—-a brilliant TLN colleague who works in California—started a neat strand of conversation when he mentioned that he finds it difficult to challenge the practice of others in his building because he knows that they have a deep knowledge of his personal and professional weaknesses.  He describes this as “the Glass House effect,” and he’s wondering how other teachers deal with change agency in similar situations.

On slide 6, Dan, who is a professional development provider, asks what role that PD can play in supporting Tweeners-–a group of teachers that Muhammad believes are crucial to moving schools forward.  A related question rumbling through my mind is what kinds of PD do accomplished school leaders provide to progressive teachers to help them become more effective and efficient change agents.

And on the final slide, a teacher named Mrs. Williams asks a question that is probably on the mind of the classroom teachers in the conversation:  What practical skills do teacher need before they’ll feel comfortable challenging the kinds of low levels of belief in students that plague struggling schools?  Here’s to hoping that Anthony gives us one or two key behaviors that we can work to master.  I’d hate to walk away from this conversation with a bunch of great ideas and no clue how to make ’em happen in my building!

If you haven’t stopped by our conversation yet, you should!  Here’s the direct link.  I guarantee that you’ll learn something.

If you have stopped by already, here’s your day three challenge:  Rather than posting something new to the conversation today, go in and find a comment made by another participant to respond to.  It could be something that made you think.  It could be something you completely disagree with.  It could be something that you want to know more about.

Make today a day of interaction by interacting with an existing participant.

After all, that’s what good collaborative dialogue looks like in action, right?