In communities across the nation, people are attempting to redesign education while simultaneously educate the most complex generation in history. Educators are called upon to meet elevated standards for student achievement, and to engage in continuous renewal, while changing expectations are constantly swirling around them. In contrast, the way teachers are trained, the way schools are organized, the way the educational hierarchy operates, and the way political decision makers treat educators result in a system that is more likely to retain the status quo.
Achieving extraordinary results can not happen by arguing persuasively for something new, or making incremental changes that might lead to new ways of doing things based on old beliefs. Both the long-term objectives and the short-term imperatives require reaching beyond traditional problem solving and reform models. The current approaches are based on a paradigm of education that is inconsistent with what actually must be done to achieve the outcome. Whenever people are limited in working in education, there is something – a context – that they are blind to and that holds that limitation in place.
The current paradigm of education is based on certain assumptions – shared understandings that have evolved over time – and this reality is perpetuated by concurrent traditional practices. These underlying assumptions and practices reconfirm and sustain the reality. The culture of education shapes and limits the outcomes of even the most creative thinking, truly innovative approaches, and the most inspired action. And the experience is one of resignation, cynicism and resistance.
The Education Network is committed to giving people access to removing those limitations by creating a new paradigm for education. Rather than focusing on the kinds of skills that it takes to work effectively within the current constraints, The Education Network has developed and utilizes a methodology that makes it possible for people to operate outside the current framework of thinking and interacting with education.
The Education Network’s methodology is based in the principle that you can actually bring something forth in language. The Education Network inquired into “What ways of speaking and listening make it possible for people to make a difference in education?” We have defined a set of principles and distinctions that fosters new ways of thinking, that breaks up old patterns of action and that empowers people to achieve concrete breakthroughs.
This methodology gives educators the opportunity to powerfully express qualities such as integrity, accountability and leadership in furtherance of their fundamental commitment – making a difference with students and impacting the future of education. Instead of resigning themselves to the belief that the challenges are too broad for an individual to impact, teachers experience themselves as bigger than the issues that shape education. With passion, creativity, and stick-to-it-ness, they go about the work of making a profound impact in all of their accountabilities.
When people consistently engage in conversations based on these principles and distinctions, they are able to transform complaints into committed action, to form and maintain extended partnerships, and to generate a focus which inspires extraordinary action over the long term. They address challenges with a significant level of understanding, foresight and resourcefulness. They consistently produce remarkable results no matter what the circumstances – students with a history of low achievement, limited resources, lack of support from others, or drastic policy changes. And they create an atmosphere in which others are able to produce results which were previously unthinkable.