The Future of Teaching: Let’s continue the conversation

Since yesterday, I have been involved in a conversation on Will Richardson‘s post The Future of Teaching.

The first part of this post was originally posted as a comment to The Future of Teaching.

I am getting the idea that we, at least those of us involved in this conversation, are ready to act on new ideas. People have asked for priorities, have asked about where we go from here.

I think that something like this can help us get there. I know that Gervase Bushe has been using Appreciative Inquiry with the Vancouver Public School System. This was published in the Summer 2007 edition of the SFU Business Newsletter, the Executive Edge:

In the last Executive Edge newsletter we told you about a $150,000 three-year research project to study a change management trend called appreciative inquiry. It’s a new process that works to change the way people think – to get them thinking collectively about how they want their organization to operate.

Gervase Bushe, SFU Business associate professor of management and organizational change, who is consulting and studying the process and its outcomes at the Vancouver School Board, reported on the results of the first year of study. “Preliminary indications are that the change process has been so successful that the BC Schools Superintendents’ Association is offering appreciative inquiry training and is also planning an appreciative inquiry summit for Kelowna in August,” says Bushe. What’s more, he says, numerous BC School Districts are planning to use appreciative inquiry in their schools next year.

It’s a powerful change process, based in the very foundations that have been brought up in with Will’s post.

Here is a recent article that Gervase wrote, which I think does a great job at outlining just what Appreciative Inquiry is:

G.R. Bushe (2007). Appreciative Inquiry is not about the Positive.

He talks about the generative nature of AI:

Generativity occurs when people collectively discover or create new things that they can use to positively alter their collective future. AI is generative in a number of ways. It is the quest for new ideas, images, theories and models that liberate our collective aspirations, alter the social construction of reality and, in the process, make available decisions and actions that weren’t available or didn’t occur to us before. When successful, AI generates spontaneous, unsupervised, individual, group and organizational action toward a better future.

If we were to design an appreciative change process for our school systems I think we could find our way to get there…together.

It would begin with a conversation that has already begun not only in Will’s post that I referenced above but in various places across the blogosphere – on LeaderTalk, on Scott Mcleod‘s blog, Kevin Sandridge‘s, Barbara Barreda‘s,  Miguel Ghulin‘s, Justin Medved‘s, Dennis Harter‘s, Stephen Ransom‘s,  and many others.

Is anyone interested in continuing that conversation? I’d love to be part of the process with you.

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  • Tracy Rosen says:

    Ok everyone – John’s comment has been sitting at the back of my mind since he posted it 2 weeks ago:

    I’m just wondering if the conversation that you started here ever moved to the next level?

    No, it has not moved to the next level and I think it is time it did. I am sure that we have all been caught up in the beginning of the year maelstrom that September can become – I know I have! But it is time to get busy. I am going to move this conversation to a wiki for us. And ask some questions to get us going.
    Once I create the wiki (wait, I’m supposed to be in bed! I’m home sick today! Oh well, it won’t take long :) ) I will post the link here.

    Thanks for the nudge, John, even though it took a little while for it to work!

  • John Brandt says:


    I only discovered the Map of Future Forces Affecting Education yesterday and blogged my comments on our association blog. I also encouraged the members of ACTEM – our state association that represents education technologists to give it a look. Tonight I searched to see who else on the blogosphere had been talking about the Map and the topic. I eventually found the blog by Will Richardson (who incidently is presenting at the ACTEM fall conference in about a month) and that led me to this entry. I’m just wondering if the conversation that you started here ever moved to the next level?

    I found the map to be fascinating and I particularly loved the references to “Media-Rich Pervasive Learning.” I think this is very much the future and in some ways its happening now. With close to a million iPhone sold in less than two months, and now the iPod Touch, we are looking at millions of people who will now be carrying the internet in their pocket.

    In the past the little child walking through the streets of a strange city, hand clutched to parent, looks up at something and says, “What’s that Daddy?” In this Brave New World, the child reaches for her hand-held device and figures out the answer to her question without asking Daddy.

  • Tracy says:

    Yes, Nancy, I agree. AI is both practical and tangible!

    I think that we have at least 4 people here (I’ll need to give Kevin a nudge :) ) who are interested in exploring this:

    Kevin Sandridge
    Dennis Harter
    Nancy Riffer
    Tracy Rosen

    Can anyone think of anyone else they feel needs to be a part of this conversation?

  • Nancy Riffer says:

    I have studied Appreciative Inquiry with David Cooperrider in a workshop. I’m interested in joining the conversation. I’ve just started blogging on change in education from a societal and systemic point of view. AI is practical and tangible.

  • Tracy says:

    Ok Dennis – let’s do it, is right!

    I’m wondering, in the work that you and Justin are doing on curriculum could we not add another strand of conversation around teacher support and invite others to join? I think it would be important to connect the two.

    What do you think?

  • dharter says:

    It’s why I blog…to have this very conversation. Thanks for including me.

    Let’s do it.

  • Tracy says:

    You must be! I know that the swampiness is on its way for me, too…

    I’m looking forward to reading what you have to say, Kevin.

    By any chance do you work in the Vancouver school system? If so, do you know more about the work Gervase is involved in there?

  • Tracy, thanks for bringing up this line of discussion. I have to admit that I’ve been swamped with getting the year started, but will give your points some thought and get back to you with a substantive reply! :)

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