Thursday, February 2, 2012

NAIS President Pat Bassett - ISASTC

Here are my initial thoughts from @patbasset's talk. Please forgive any poor grammar etc. since I haven't had time to edit.

Pat Bassett has been a Teacher, Coach, Dorm Parent as well as a Head of School. I appreciate his unique perspective from these various experiences. Slides from his presentation are available on the NAIS site.

Pat started off explaining his teacher training, emphasizing the importance of professional development in my mind. He explains all he was told was "As the period begins to end, give the impression you have something more to say." I am so glad that we have worked hard in our schools to have mentoring.

The first part of his discussion stems mostly from Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone.

He begins by talking about the importance of being a school of the future. When we talk about the change that must happen to be a school of the future there is often some uncomfortable conversations. We have to make sure that when we speak that we have a conversation instead of delivering a message. This is always something I have to step back and remember when I'm pushing change. I once heard that change is akin to a loss for many people. Even if they agree with the change they need a period to almost mourn what once was comfortable. Pat reminds me that I need to make sure the way we present change is as important as the change and that we must always employ empathy.

Pat then switched into one of my favorite subjects, student-centered learning. What if schools created a culture of do instead of a culture of know? How do we change a culture of consumption to one of meaning? I love the idea of having students creating instead of only consuming. We need to continue to make our classrooms more interactive and meaningful.

He then asks us to answer the following questions...
What should we teach? (curriculum)
I love the idea we need to focus on the 6 C's - Communication, Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, Character. Especially his focus on building character in our independent schools.

How should we teach? (pedagogy)
As a former coach, I really identify with the idea that we should play to our students strengths while making sure they are competent in the other areas. As a technologist, I love how he places importance in the use of technology as just-in-time instead of just-in-case. Practical application is so important to our students.

How should we assess? (outcomes)
How should we embed the vision? (leadership)

I really enjoy how the President of NAIS is pushing our schools to be more innovative and reflective on our pedagogy.

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