When I was young, my mother would try to mitigate my occasional fits of pique by saying, “You have the same clothes to get glad in that you had to get mad in.” It’s unfortunate that the homespun adage had little impact on my mood in those days. Instead, I struggled for years to understand the basic concept that the only thing that really mattered was the attitude I chose for any experience. One thing I know for sure is that we will never overcome the challenges we face as educators in our mad clothes.
This past month, I facilitated several conversations about culture and change with counselors, principals, assistant principals, curriculum directors, assistant-superintendents, and superintendents. As a result of these conversations, I noticed several key characteristics that are important for productive learning and working environments.
Five Characteristics of a Productive Learning Environment
1) COURAGE. It takes courageous leadership in times of ambiguity. Right now, there are a lot of unknowns in education. Legislators are proposing bills that some find uncomfortable. Students and staff are unclear about how learning will be assessed. Leaders and teachers are investigating and choosing new evaluation systems. The list goes on. It takes courage to believe that meaningful and authentic learning can occur no matter what happens at the local, state and federal level. Courageous leaders will continue to focus on preparing every student for college and career while fostering dynamic relationships with all stakeholders.