Alice came to a fork in the road.  “Which road do I take?” she asked.
“Where do you want to go?” responded the Cheshire cat.
“I don’t know,” Alice answered.
“Then,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter.”
~Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Many of us use the start of the new school year to refine our vision of the difference we hope to make in our buildings and in the field as a whole.  How can we invite everyone we lead and serve–students and teachers and administrators alike– to do the same and to share it with others? More importantly, how can we align not only our curricula but our instructional and professional development practices in ways that will enable these people to realize their vision even as we are pursuing our own?

There is often much conversation, particularly during opening week festivities, about what it means to be a 21st century learner. Is it possible to be a successful  21st century learner without a clear and a very unique understanding of who you are, who you intend to be, and how you would like to serve others? Visioning work enables us to define our ideals, shape our purposes, and choose the roads that will deliver us closer to our destination.  If vision is at the heart of learning, how might you enter into this work at the start of this new school year, and how can you invite those you serve to do the same? How have you done this already? What difference has it made?

This week, I’ll be sharing what I’ve learned about visioning processes from different mentors and how I’ve approached this work with groups of educators, pre-service teachers, and young people over the last few years. I hope you’ll share some of your experiences as well and consider some of these resources and ideas–

  • The Ohio State University Extension provides a variety of basic visioning activities here.
  • The University of Missouri College of Education shares this set of materials, intended for schools interested in embarking on organizational visioning work.
  • The Bonner Foundation provides these exercises, which can be adapted for various audiences.
  • Ed online’s Inside Leadership Toolkit includes a variety of videos that feature the visioning work of different educators.
  • While many people pursue this process through notebooks, journals, scrapbooks and poster boards, a variety of web tools enable innovative visioning work that is easily shared, and when desired, highly collaborative. Consider blogging or vlogging your vision in order to connect with others and gain their perspective. Podcasts, digital stories, photo streams, and wikis can add dimension, life, and possibility to your efforts, and tools like Typewith.Me, Titan Pad, Google Docs, and Writeboard will enable you to create a shared vision with others–good options for those beginning a new year of collegial learning within and beyond classrooms.

*Photo taken by Angela Stockman, 2008.

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