Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Awhile back, Lou Gerstner was hired as the new CEO of IBM. At that time he was inheriting a company that had once been the most admired enterprise on earth but had slumped to be one of the most troubled. Gerstner himself was hired, in fact, as a hard-headed, results-driven manager. His initial plan was to steer the company in a radically more goal-oriented direction. What he quickly discovered, however, was that IBM had drifted from its historically anchored beliefs.  He realized his main job would have to be to restore and revitalize IBM's soul.
Like IBM, schools and education have drifted from our core beliefs.  It is difficult to keep the faith when the pressures of reform constrict the purpose of education to producing results on standardized tests.  (Taken from Reviving the Soul of Teaching by Terry Deal and Peggy Deal Redman, 2008)
Instead of trying to make schools more data and bottom-line driven, we should be encouraging a return to our core beliefs and the hallowed principles of why we came to be teachers in the first place - "To make  difference for kids."  People and values first! "We are emotional beings in a social setting."
Let me end this post with some wise words from our colleague, Christina Palmer: " Implications for our group projects are indicative of the delicate balance between embracing technology without losing sight of the human dynamic. How can we remain visionary while maintaining our humanity? Can we facilitate forward thinking and positive change while simultaneously ensuring that the human element is central to our vision? It is clear that we must."
What I know for sure is that our future and that of our grandchildren and their grandchildren, to a great degree, rests in the hands of those current educational leaders who understand this 'delicate' balance.  Yes, we can make 'extraordinary' learning environments, and, yes, it IS in our hands.

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