Re-imagining Learning for the 21st Century

Part 1: Cultural Practices

On our team, we all have a professional learning journal where we set and track short-term and long-term goals.

We listen to each other speak to our progress on our goals on a weekly basis.

Our journal includes three hand-crafted affirmations that identify how we bring value to the world.

We practice these affirmations in a weekly circle check-in.

Part 2: Jessica

One of my teammates, Jessica, created a year-long goal for herself to “be able to speak — on an impromptu basis — on any subject relating to 21st Century Learning in front of any audience.”

She also created affirmations for herself that she has powerful intuition, she is a designer, and that she is a purveyor of hope.

Part 3: Access to Opportunity

Throughout the year, because I knew what Jessica’s long-term goal was, I would hand off speaking responsibilities or opportunities that came my way, to her. Though I was technically the team leader and typically asked to speak or present regarding 21st Century Learning, hybrid learning, personalized learning, etc., I knew the relevance of these opportunities to her goals. I love to speak and facilitate. However, Jessica needed to. I did not. So, I gave those moments away as frequently as I could.

On other occasions, I would craft special challenges for Jessica. Start vlogging, I said. Write a personal mission statement, I said. Give weekly 10-minute speeches on Friday to our team about the “state of the department.” Give impromptu 1 minute speeches on personalized learning.

Part 4: Time to Shine

Yesterday, a filmmaker making a documentary about new learning models came to Santa Ana and interviewed our team. I wasn’t there for Jessica’s interview, but walked into the filming location right after she had finished. One of our team was giving her feedback: “You nailed it. You were speaking from the heart. You had so much passion. Every sentence was focused and clear.” And the smile on Jessica’s face said it all. Our learning practice and approaches to learning as adults inform how we create learning spaces and experiences for students. Jessica’s face said, “This is what I wanted to achieve and I am surrounded by people who supported me and witnessed me reach my goal. It was hard — so hard! But worth it.”

That’s the culture of learning we aim to create. We are reimagining learning for the 21st Century.