It is easy to associate only with those who are mostly like us. People who share our opinions are safe and often validate our thoughts and ideas. It is much harder to engage with those who are less like us. When we are faced with a challenge to our beliefs and philosophies, we get uncomfortable.
We see this in schools. We tend to become quite collegial with those like us and tend to be simply congenial to the rest. When great minds think alike, they seem to gravitate towards each other. When we are faced with a colleague who thinks differently, we often stay at arms length.
But at what cost to the culture of our school does this happen? As “lead learners” in our schools, do we not have a responsibility to enter into “learning conversations” with those who might have a different opinion or approach to teaching and learning? Engaging with the goal of learning instead of needing validation can be quite liberating and satisfying, especially if during this interaction you discover hidden truths in your own beliefs that were otherwise in hibernation.
We also need to remember that, as teachers and leaders, we probably share a foundational belief that underscores all others – we are passionate about our disciplines and care deeply about helping our students.
Effective educational leaders do not shy away from the uncomfortable, but rather view difficult conversations as opportunities to learn. These are also moments when one’s true leadership skill is put to the test. If we approach these situations from that position, we are certainly in a good place to advance the missions of our schools.
Being intelligent educators, I hope we can all agree to that.
Image Source Page: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/great-minds-think-alike.html