I have spent the last 2 nights fascinated with watching the finales of reality shows - The Biggest Loser, Celebrity Apprentice (Yah! Bret), Dancing with the Stars, American Idol.
And there's such a strong common theme in all of these - transformation. We use this word in education all the time. "We need to transform this and transform that, transform our instruction, transform the classroom, transform learning."
What does it mean to transform? How do we know we are transforming?
So one of the pieces is change. Change implies a significant difference between before and after, right?
Does it mean that the after is better? That's still to be seen, but based on what I've seen so far, there is evidence that it might.
So what? There's a big difference between something that LOOKS different and something that IS different. What is that???
I think it's deeply personal, emotional and it only happens as a result of challenging oneself and going through, yes, through the struggle. It's not easy to get to a different place, but if we go there together, we can. And that's the second ingredient - having a someone to push you there. I'm not sure if push is the right word, but it's what Jillian does in The Biggest Loser. I can relate to her b/c there are teachers who are afraid they will fail at using technology - they compare themselves to a younger generation, even their students who are more adept at using technology, but what I see when a teacher goes through the struggle of taking that risk - to learn and grow, is amazing. They just need someone to tell them they can do it, hold up the expectation, and hold out a hand if they stumble or fall to help them back up.
Well, if education really does need to transform, then why aren't we looking to what's happening out there? It's right in front of us - we don't need a book, or a manual or a step-by-step guide to tell us how to transform! Sylvia Martinez stated at ISTE last year that the past 30 years of technology staff development has not worked. I think we can look to other sources in our world to receive and provide staff development. Why are we limiting ourselves to only educators when we have Stacy and Clinton and Jillian and Bob and so many others teaching others how to transform? If they can do it, so can we!