I am a curious person. I love to ask questions (sometimes to the despair of my children!)
Thinking, considering, questioning, picking at, guessing, challenging, back-tracking, checking, revising and refocusing daily. I have the good fortune to be married to a man who also loves to challenge and who helps me work though things. I also appreciate my office mates – both critical and inquiring people, who are infinitely patient with me as I wrestle with ideas and agonize over concepts, struggling for clarity. Each time I start by saying, “I hope your not too busy, but….” Or “What do you think would happen…” and “I just don’t understand how to ….” And they engage once more with me, helping me find my way, probing my thinking, massaging an idea until I can let it go once more.
Lunch, yesterday, was another example. I had been explaining how my thinking was changing again and can sum it up thus:
I thought we were forming a community of Arts Educators so that we might feel strength from numbers. To combat the isolation of being the only odd ball in your school. But I’m finding that as we clarify our roles, agree to common beliefs, and philosophy, so to our identity becomes more clear. With this clarity of purpose comes the question “so what?” How is this meaningful to anyone else? Can we sit up at the big boy table and talk confidently about what it is we do and why it is important? In these days of assessment where do we stand? We need to move toward a Culture of Evidence (to use Dr. Burnaford‘s title of a CAPES project in Chiacago).
As I fumbled to articulate these thoughts, I realized it captured a fairly accurate progression of my thinking. It all seemed to make perfect sense.
The building of the community identity was indeed an important step in the process, but it allowed us to move into a new arena for discussion. As we give voice to our world we are in a better position to share it with others – to make our case!
I sat at the lunch table, quietly contemplating this awareness. Sounded good, yup, makes sense. Uh huh….
Next, my colleague innocently asked me, “How much are you driving the process? Do you think the teachers in your committee look at you as wearing the “Mantle of the Expert”? Does your word carry more weight because you are a consultant?”
I looked at her and thought, “She found the elephant in the room!” Does my power and authority = compromised collaboration? What does that do to my understanding of my role?
The committee is engaged in a process of coming to understand the terms of Studio Thinking, our identity and common purpose and I think the process thus far has allowed it to happen. It is a process I designed intentionally to include input and direction from the group, to build the concept of community. But what is our community doing now? What comes next? I am ready to move us into some new territory, into what I have identified as a natural progression from the process. I also see it having a “big picture” ramification to our work. It will provide validation to the Arts through a firm grounding in assessment for learning.
BUT, are they ready to move into this arena of learning? As the one who sets the agenda I also have the power. How does this impact our working environment? We meet again on Monday (3rd action) and this needs to be my question for the day as we work. We will be reflecting on our process, looking at collaboration, exploring ways to appropriately use technology, the purpose of documentation, and the connection to assessment. I’m concerned that we will be trying to cover too much in too little time (but we have so little time!) I may be pushing too much, too soon.
Upon reflection, it seems apparent that we need to consider our process and direction. I will try to use a VoiceThread for the discussion and will link (or embed) it when done.
We are a curious community indeed – we are curious about the world around us, curious about learning and the way things work…. and we are often seen as curious to others. This curiosity binds us together and will help us move forward.
(Holly Hildebrand “Poppies”)