Believing in relationships, student engagement, and teacher learning means believing in empowering all learners. Empowering all learners means evidencing those beliefs in a culture of growth. A focus on growth has led us to the following three insights.
· Creating conditions for growth means defining success as the ability to close the gap between where we are and where we want to be, wherever that might be. We will not meet the needs of our students if our practices aren’t evolving to reflect their learning styles. Realizing our target is moving prevents us from focusing on a single outcome.
· We reference change as voluntary but inevitable. One of the most important conditions of the culture is the use of a common language to describe a unified direction. A common language and direction enables teacher to access each other's learning as resources for growth. This not only gives teachers permission to find a comfortable entry point, but the directions and resources needed to take the next step in their own growth.
· The growth process can be empowering, but it can also be uncomfortable and challenging. To participate fully in the risk taking that is critical to the process, we have to shift our perspectives on ideas like success and failure. We see both as equally valuable if handled well. The encouragement of risk taking and protection from what some might consider setbacks are central to growth.