That day in late spring, the Arizona sun was a searing cauldron. Lush, prickly teddy-bear cactus lined the winding, rising mountain trail as our shoes slipped and gripped in the gravel. Although the desert is my home and the trail familiar to me, guests Rick and Becky DuFour took the lead charging up the steep pathway. That day, years before, and years after, I took pleasure in learning from and following Richard DuFour. In following him, I learned a lot. Given his recent passing, I’d like to celebrate him and share just a few things I learned on the trail. Read more
Casey Reason, PhD, is an expert in collaboration, innovation, overcoming resistance to change, and next-level leadership. He has worked with a variety of clients, including some of the top Fortune 100 companies in the world.
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Note: Casey Reason co-authored this post with guest-blogger Dr. Todd Nichols, Ed.D.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said “life is a succession of lessons, which must be lived to be understood.” The implication is that the life lessons we are meant to embrace cannot be learned unless there is a commitment to get in there and live those life lessons with a deep sense of awareness. While Emerson didn’t elaborate, it’s clear that one of the best tools we have in making the most of our lived experiences is having the discipline to consistently reflect on those experiences in a deep and thoughtful way. While this is a great personal discipline, through PLCs we’ve come to understand that one of the best ways to improve that strategic reflection process is to use the power of a valued team or group. In your own professional life experiences, think about how many times you have had a series of experiences occur wherein those experiences were made much more valuable to you after you had the opportunity to reflect with colleagues on the meaning of those experiences and the takeaways that were most valuable.
This post is part of a series on In Praise of American Educators (And How They Can Become Even Better).
Why 3 takeaways? Because they wouldn’t let me post 33. Several weeks ago I saw the weblink to Rick’s new book. The ad said “A Must-Read Masterpiece.” The word masterpiece certainly evokes a majestic image. In this case, it is certainly warranted. In this book Rick thoughtfully and directly speaks to some of the most challenging issues of the day in American education. He brings clarity, perspective, and the commanding inspiration to take immediate and decisive action. Gertrude Stein said “a masterpiece may be unwelcome, but it is never dull. “ Indeed, In Praise of American Educators will stir your imagination, force each of us to take a look at ourselves, and ultimately shine a light on steps towards a brighter future. Now, my three takeaways and reflections:
This post is part of an ongoing series on the topic of Eliminating the Achievement Gap for Latino Students.
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F. Kennedy
Like so many of Kennedy’s quotes, there is a beautiful poignancy in these words. What makes them altogether even more powerful is the fact that he never had the chance to deliver this speech. This was the speech he was scheduled to deliver on November 22, 1963, the day he was assassinated. Another important theme threaded throughout these thoughtful last words revolved around the term community. Used multiple times, Kennedy emphasized the importance of connecting leading and learning in the creation of more evolved communities in the name of progress and innovation.
Do you remember that moment when you realized you couldn’t go anywhere without your Smartphone? There was a tipping point when the technology in your hand became an inseparable accessory to both your personal and professional life. Malcolm Gladwell describes tipping points as those magic moments when ideas, trends, or social behaviors cross the threshold and become fully saturated in the culture (Gladwell, 2000). Everywhere we look, the change is there.