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2014 Institute in Innovation in Education Prague Gathering - Clement Coulston Reflections

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2014 Institute for Innovation in
Education Prague Gathering
From October 29th
to November 1st
2014, the Institute for
In...
2
Mentorship
Consistent with the mutual belief in lifelong learning and sharing, a conversation on the value of mentorship...
3
Feedback
In our leadership journey, the feedback in which we receive from fellow peers can be extremely valuable. Howeve...
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2014 Institute in Innovation in Education Prague Gathering - Clement Coulston Reflections

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The 2014 Institute in Innovation in Education gathered students, educators, researchers, NGOs, and leaders, with a specific focus on youth engagement and leadership! This took place at the Riverside International School in Prague.

**Due to the PDF conversation to SlideShare.net, it is encouraged to download the resource for a better viewing experience**

The 2014 Institute in Innovation in Education gathered students, educators, researchers, NGOs, and leaders, with a specific focus on youth engagement and leadership! This took place at the Riverside International School in Prague.

**Due to the PDF conversation to SlideShare.net, it is encouraged to download the resource for a better viewing experience**

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2014 Institute in Innovation in Education Prague Gathering - Clement Coulston Reflections

  1. 1. 1 2014 Institute for Innovation in Education Prague Gathering From October 29th to November 1st 2014, the Institute for Innovation in Education (iiE) gathered and engaged young people from middle school to colligate, educators, representatives from youth-focused civic organizations, government, and the private sector. Key topics discussed throughout the Gathering were of authentic youth engagement, civic engagement, school climate and mentorship. Poster Session on Youth Leadership During this hour and a half hour workshop, participants engaged in discussions surrounded on the topic of Youth Leadership. Rather then sharing what we considered youth leadership to be, we valued the wisdom already within the group. Thus, through the use of open-ended prompts and shared value for equitable conversations, this resource highlights key themes from the Gathering. Learning and Sharing As leaders, it is important to make a commitment to lifelong learning and sharing. The moment one stops believing that he or she cannot learn with others, is when his or her ability to lead stops. The notion of being only able ‘to share’ and ‘not learn’ with one another can be challenging. Everyone has unique experiences that influence their perspective on the world. The individual contribution of each person to the collective perspective can bring new ideas to any common topic of discussion. However, when we look at our collaboration, do we find our interactions to be limited and disjointed, such as figure 1? Or, do we strive to cultivate the dispositions needed to effectively communicate and learn with one another, such as demonstrated in figure 2. Reflection When considering the word, reflection, many ideas may come to mind. I do not consider there to be only one definition of reflection, since this practice is constructed per ones’ own experiences, thoughts and questions. However, there are common themes in how one can consider the practice of reflection: Youth Engagement Youth Engagement A time to celebrate what was successful and identify what was challenging. An opportunity to alter and/or strengthen our personal beliefs and values. A purpose for continous self- enhancement on our future initiatives/ engagements. Figure 1 – are we in our own spheres? Figure 2 – collaboration is what you & the group co-decide it to be. It can get messy, but learning and sharing becomes organic.
  2. 2. 2 Mentorship Consistent with the mutual belief in lifelong learning and sharing, a conversation on the value of mentorship arose. We examined what makes this type of partnership work, as the typical partnership can look like a power hierarchy. I see the concept of mentorship on a continuum. All points are on various spots, based on their comfort and past experience. It can be encouraged to progress through the continuum, where the mentorship model can be geared towards a mutual learning and sharing model, with each being able to meaningfully contribute. This idea of being partners in growing individually as well as collectively can be hard to understand. Many consider age to be the determining factor in ones’ value; this is due to his or her past experiences. This is consistent with the idea that each one of us has our own experiences, but diverges in whose contribution is considered more valuable. Young people often perceive their ideas as unworthy or inexperienced. Thus, the idea of defining age to be, the number of years one has been on Earth, was examined. What are some of the dispositions of those who engage in a partnership? Below is a word cloud with ideas shared: Exploration – a desire to refrain from stopping from “no” or “never” and seeing where an unexplored idea/journey may go. Growth – the need in broadening ones’ perspectives and skill enrichment. Support – as one student said, “If they promise to help you they should keep that promise.” Voice – the equity in opportunity to share and be listened to. Mentor Mentee Mentee Mentor A group of learners and sharers Age The number of years one has been on Earth. Age is not an indicator of ones’ value.
  3. 3. 3 Feedback In our leadership journey, the feedback in which we receive from fellow peers can be extremely valuable. However, the type and presentation of feedback can make a huge difference. Too often, one can often be given feedback such as: “you should change this” or “that was not good.” There are other ways to provide valuable feedback that can help the individual consider ones’ suggestions and adapt them per his or her own desires. Personally, I dislike the idea of editing. I believe that a Word Processing Programs and robots can perform editing on a paper. However, humans are creative and innovative, when encouraged and empowered to do so. Thus, we can provide proposed enhancements to the writer, so he or she can strengthen his or her piece. Some may be tempted to say, “Please just change what you think so I be done with it.” This does not support the growth of the writer. I believe that the enhancement process can be a time for growth, for both the proposer and the writer! There are some shifts in mindset to consider when providing feedback: Unconference Session Creation At the Gathering, participants engaged in an Unconference (a ‘participant-driven’ meeting) where topics were co- created by the group in a unique manner. Topics such as the following to the right were crafted. One may notice that some of the topics are both creative. This was due to the fact in how participants were able to build off of one another in crafting these topics for discussion later on in the day. After the topics were finalized, participants were able to partake in two. This was bad. I enjoyed ____. I struggled with ____. You should change this to ____. I encourage you to consider ____ [a question or idea, but not 'an answer']. I can just do it for you. Let's work together! I am here to support you. Distance Through The Barrier Toward a Place Sustainable Engagement in Unschooling Performance Imagining Unsettling Uncommon Perspective Taking Inquiry Based Program Curious Voice Experience the Cloud Observing Activity and Sounds Creativity Global Culture with Di!erent Habits
  4. 4. 4 Unconference Session I: Imagining Unsettling Uncommon Perspective For this specific session, the two common themes of Learning Experiences and Creativity were center of the conversation. Learning Experiences – Is There A Role of ‘Failure?’ We engaged in a conversation about what does it mean to have “learning experiences.” As individuals shared their thoughts on this term and meaning, an environment of ‘this was my journey,’ resonated with the idea how each one of us is on our own journey. Sometimes we share this journey with friends, family, colleagues and members of the community; yet, our journey is unique since no one has the same exact perspectives and feelings, even for a set of twins! Specifically, the three actions of “ideate,” “explore,” and “reflect” were the action-oriented building blocks of our journeys, followed by their suggested implications. This rose to a subject on the meaning of failure. This provoked a diverse array of thoughts, as some perceived failure is necessary for learning. Furthermore, some wonder if, “does one need to fail in order to learn?” I consider the meaning and implication of failure as an ‘all-or- nothing idea,’ which can provoke feelings of wasted time and energy. Rather, I see reflection as the catalyst for learning, as if there was just one learning from an experience, that it indeed was not a failure. Failure is when we neglect to celebrate what went well, identify what was challenging and engender take-aways for future endeavors. Creativity Many had expressed that as we become older, there may be a decrease in creativity. However, we actually do not see a correlation between age and creativity, but rather we see a challenge that creativity can be confined, as one becomes acclimated to his or her surrounding environment. We questioned the possible factors and accompanied questions that could impact ones’ creativeness: ! Expectations – The what ! Directions – The how ! Belief in Perceived Valued – The why ImplicationsActionsA Journey Learning Experiences Ideate Generate ideas, questions or curiosities. Explore Discover the unknown or unexplored through inquiry. Re!ect Synthesis of learnings, challenges, surprises and proposed future endeavors.
  5. 5. 5 Specifically, the idea of a worksheet was considered: Prompts for one to consider: ! When we are not guided by rules, how do we feel? ! How does being unsettled, influence us? ! What is possible the intersection between freedom and rules? How do they influence our individual and collective action? Project Work Day I had the opportunity to work with a group of students from Slovakia. They co-constructed an idea and plan in how they can support their community. Identification of Talents and Needs for Success ! Visuals – a powerful representation that can translate a word to meaning. o Index Cards – the development of a tangible action item were written on index cards. This would later be used as ‘a step’ that could be rearranged on the ‘Work Timeline.’ Index cards were also encouraged as blank ‘thought notes’ which one could contribute his or her thoughts onto, to ensure an idea/thought would not be lost. o Flip Chart Paper – this was mainly used as an ideation tool. Since the group consisted of four students, we divided the sheet into four sections: (1) goals, (2) excitement, (3) concerns, and (4) ‘wild.’ ! Adapting the Room – the room set-up was flexible so we could adapt it to meet our needs. o As each step of our four-hour working workshop prevailed, tables were moved if deemed necessary for our collective action. • Action: A young person colored the picture in the way he or she so desired. • Impact: A sense of empowerment and pride in his or her piece of art; an expression of his or her wisdom. 5 year old • Action: A young person is told how 'a good student' would color the picture. • Impact: An acquired sense of self- worth based on the idea of pleasing others. May not truly represent the expression of the individual. 9 year old • Action: A young person is ‘stuck’ when poised with the opportunity to create, without a given set of directions. • Impact: A sensation of being unable to ‘innovate.’ The open canvas without direction can incite anxiety, unknowingness and unpreparedness. 14 year old
  6. 6. 6 ! Organization – various protocols were utilized to help facilitate a dialogue. o Customizable Timeline – a blank sheet was spread across the table. With each of the index cards, the team decided which would be placed where. There was no glue involved until the end, so action items could be moved, if co-decided upon. Year increments were placed (for three years) to provide a framework. o Reflection 3-2-1 – due to the copious amounts of ideas shared, it became overwhelming at times. When the group felt that it needed a ‘step back’ period, each person would share his or her ‘3-2-1’. They included: 3 learnings, 2 surprises, and 1 challenge. Contact and Additional Resources Contact Additional Resources Inclusive Youth Leadership Two-Pager http://slidesha.re/1BujVYN Dive into Inclusive Youth Leadership, with this overview and how adult allies can support this leadership lifestyle. Innovation in Teaching and Learning Think Tank bit.ly/IBLThinkTank Learn of the reflections from a recent Think Tank focused on youth engagement, innovation & school climate. Twitter E-How bit.ly/TwitterEHowPU Initiate or enhance your use of this 24/7 learning and sharing online site, with the use of this e-how. Social Story of the iiE Prague Gathering bit.ly/iiEGatheringPrague Check out this social story of the #iieGathering hashtag, with Tweets of reflections, questions and pictures! Clement.Coulston@gmail.com twitter.com/clementc26 linkedin.com/in/clementcoulston slideshare.net/clementcoulston storify.com/clementc27

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