Changes in Practice (#IMMOOC Season 3, Week 3)

I am participating in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) with hundreds of other educators across the globe, about The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros. These are my reflections for Season 3, Week 3 of #IMMOOC, and the prompt:

What is one thing that you used to do in education that you no longer do or believe in? Why the change? 

Over the course of my career, I have changed jobs, schools, and districts, so there are many things that I used to do that I no longer do. Most of those changes are due to the change in my role, as each new position brought new dimensions to my practice.  However, there are a few big ideas that came to mind as I reread Chapters 4 and 5 of The Innovator’s Mindset this week.

I no longer keep ideas to myself. 

Thanks to Twitter, blogging, and being a networked learner and leader, I realize the value and power of sharing my ideas outside of my own office. Even though it can still be scary to hit “publish” on a post and wait to see if anyone reads it, or to think that my thoughts don’t matter much, I take the risk. I recognize that my ideas may be the spark someone else needs to make an innovation a reality in their work.  This video (Obvious to you. Amazing to Others.) illustrates this point perfectly – what is obvious to me may be amazing to someone else. You’ll never know unless you share.

I no longer expect people to ask for permission.

I wrote a post about asking for permission back in 2012. I reread it and added an update in 2016. It is still something I see people struggle with all the time. George writes about the need for trust in relationships so that people can feel free to take risks and innovate. Many years ago, as a principal, I think I expected people to ask my permission if they were going to try something new. I no longer do that and I wish I could go back to my younger self and explain the error of my ways. By trusting our colleagues to be professional, we can open up the doors to innovations that truly impact our students, if we just give it a chance.

I no longer believe that expertise needs to be shared by talking AT people.

Whether I am in a classroom, noticing the balance between student and teacher talk, or in a professional development, noticing the balance between presenter and participant talk, I believe that talking AT people is detrimental to learning. There are many ways to help people learn a new procedure, explore a new topic, or understand a new concept. We can engage learners in reading, viewing, writing, reflecting, discussing, and authentic learning opportunities in order to expand their knowledge. None of these methods require one lone expert to talk AT the learners. I know I was guilty of this as a teacher and as a presenter at professional development, but I work hard now to facilitate interactive learning opportunities for the adults with whom I work. I respect them too much not to.


These are a few of my practices I have changed over my career. I look forward to reading other #IMMOOC reflections about this topic. I’d love to hear in the comments about other practices my readers have changed.

About Amy's Reflections

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services in Southern CA, taking time to reflect on leadership and learning
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2 Responses to Changes in Practice (#IMMOOC Season 3, Week 3)

  1. Very much in agreement with what you have cited here as changes over a long period of time; have seem/experience/pursued them myself–the the benefit of the learners I serve.

    Continuing to be appreciative that you are writing these posts as part of our overlapping experiences through #IMMOOC.

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