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MACUL Keynote…Mary Cullinane

This post is being cross-posted on the MACUL Conference blog…

I’m sure someone’s post, maybe Steve‘s, gives a little background about our opening speaker, so I won’t go into the details. One thing I will mention before the action starts is that these seats are sweet! They’re soft and have a springy back…it’s going to be hard not to want to sit in here all day! Plus…and here’s a conference tip…I’m sitting in the row that in the across-room aisle, which means that I can stretch out my legs.

Rather than summarizing her presentation, here are a few of her nuggets of wisdom.

At the end of the day, all we really want is more of our own ideas.

It’s difficult to be open to the ideas of others…because, more or less, we’re pretty pleased with how we think and what we know. I think this is particularly true with educators…we think we have the necessary knowledge and expertise and it’s difficult to let go of the power.

What would be different at your school if your principal was called the “Chief Learner?”

Since I do a lot of professional development I witness a lot of strange occurances. Often as I stand in front of the teachers of the building I wonder where the principal is. Aren’t they part of the learning community? A little better are the principals who are indeed participating, but let me know that they’re behind with “this technology thing.” Where have they been? As the Instructional Leader of the building is there not the expectation that they should be held to high standards?

Be comfortable not knowing.

I just did a Google search on “new things” and got 98.5 million hits. Live Search (that’s from Microsoft) returned 588 million hits. How can anyone keep up with that? The answer is that you don’t have to…you shouldn’t try…you’ll be doomed for failure.

Lastly, and it wasn’t her last point, here are some questions that Mary encouraged us as educators to ask…

What if…We understood our customers…

We were guaranteed not to fail…

We knew exactly what we wanted a learning environment to look like…

We had resources, commitment, will, and courage…

How would you answer this? What are your visions…and should they be different even though we know we may never achieve them? (I thinking especially of resources.) Anyone want to leave a comment?


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