In the fall, the Alberta Teachers’ Association published A Great School for All. One theme that stood out for me, interwoven throughout the publication, was the idea that Alberta is standing on a precipice in regards to its education system – do we reserve ourselves to simply tweaking the current system or is now the time to really look at transformation?
Andy Hargreaves kicked off the 2013 AISI Conference with a quote that stood out for me and reminded me of that fall ATA publication – it is important to be innovative when you’re prosperous, essential to be innovative when you’re not. In Alberta, we are recognized internationally for the strength of our school system (which we continually hear from Hargreaves, Shirley, Fullan, Reeves and others) yet are currently exploring cuts to some of the innovative aspects in our province, including AISI. As put forth in A Great School for All, we need to continue to empower the people in our classrooms and schools to move the system forward and look at creating knowledge, not just implementing it. Over the course of five cycles, we have transformed how knowledge is created and are really just at the cusp of learning how best to share and distribute this learning beyond the individual schools and districts creating it. The networks that are being developed throughout the province are moving this learning forward but we’ve just begun. We are nowhere near a stage of sustainability. Enhanced learning for students and continued success for the system does not hinge on financial strategizing, with focus on reduced class sizes and better standardized tests, but finding ways to sustain the work of teacher research and ways we are connecting and sharing our learning. Networking and sharing is critical to our continued innovation and envisioned transformation in Alberta.
Some thoughts to start off our Monday morning learning. Thanks to Andy for reminding us of the importance of innovation, even in times of prosperity.