Walking the Talk ~ Teachers as Designers

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It’s been a while since I have felt so inspired that I needed to capture my thoughts, in the moment, following a NEW experience that I have been involved in.

The last few months have been engaging, exciting and have provided me with many experiences that have reminded me, daily, about what I love in my work – connecting with kids and community. There have been SEVEC Student Exchanges, a Sun Run Trip and a conference with my awesome school leadership group – Design Team; however, these are all experiences I have had before – nothing has really ignited a spark in me to reflect, write and share…until today.

Today was different. I decided it was time to walk the talk…be a risk taker, do something that was outside of my comfort zone, something that intuitively felt right.

Last week, Greystone’s Design Team attended the IDEAS 2014 Conference at the University of Calgary. A highlight for us was participating in Ewan McIntosh’s Design Thinking workshop. This workshop provided us with the opportunity to experience a step-by-step process which taps into the creativity, innovation and design thinking capacity that each of us possesses. The whole process is something we experienced as learners and it helped us to explore how we could and would use it with our students to build their capacity for developing these important competencies. I left the workshop, completely inspired, wondering how to bring this to all of our learners (students AND staff) at Greystone.

Timing is everything. Today, six days after participating in the Design Thinking workshop, our scheduled Professional Development Day took place. With the learning from last weekend, fresh in the minds of our Design Team, Greystone’s Assistant Principal, Jesse McLean, and I decided that we needed to apply our new learning to our school context. Today’s Professional Development Day was devoted to School Education planning for next year. Instead of the usual data review and collaborative work to determine what we needed to start/stop/continue in the lengthy, existing School Education Plan and Annual Education Results Report, we decided to work with staff on the Design Thinking process to create the “Best Year of My Life” for the 2014-15 school year at Greystone.

It was THE MOST ENGAGING School Education Planning experience I have been a part of…EVER!!! The feedback from the staff supported how I was feeling. Not only was today’s work engaging for our staff, but it also provided them with the opportunity to learn a process for how to be “designers”, an experience which we can work to develop with our students.

We ended our session this morning by getting the staff’s advice on next steps. They suggested that we post all of the work from the morning to continue to get feedback from each other on the ideas that were “sketched up” this morning. I am looking forward to taking their ideas to our Design Team and pulling them together into a plan for our work next year. Stay tuned, I know there will be more on this in the weeks to come…

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