Will Richardson on Creating a Culture of Learning
Will Richardson bio
Will doesn't like when people pontificate on his bio, and if you really want to read it, you can head over to WillRichardson.com, but the one line of his bio that strikes me is this, "Will is an outspoken advocate for change in schools." It strikes me because I consider myself an advocate for learners and I might even been a little outspoken. Will's work in the past 10 years has influenced my work tremendously. As an English teacher when he first started blogging, I longed to blog and bring blogs to my classroom. It didn't happen for a long time, but it eventually happened. Then when his book Why School was released on Amazon, I downloaded it in the first three hours (I was so early to that party I think I got it free). That book shifted my thinking dramatically, and the questions raised in that book are questions I continue to ask educators I work with everyday. Will's most recent books From Master Teacher to Master Learner as well as Freedom to Learn also had a profound impact on my thinking.
Will Richardson Believes in Vision
In this show, we talked a lot about establishing a vision and making sure the vision permeates the culture. Creating a culture of learning is not small task in the the education reform movement. One of the major shifts needs to be finding a way for teachers to learn in meaningful ways. Another major shift he suggests is spending less time on curriculum. He went so far as saying, "What if we have 'curriculum hour' and a the rest of the day was genius time?" He argues curriculum is irrelevant and boring and there is just too much of it. Curriculum is teacher centered and not student centered, and he pushes the envelope to embrace more student centered learning opportunities. I mentioned developing a vision means engaging in conversations with all stakeholders, and in doing so, educators can increase our professional capital which is in need of a boost. I mentioned Andy Hargreaves' and Michael Fullan's book Professional Capital, and it is a must read for any educator feeling beat up. Yep, that is most of us.
Will's Take of the Vendor Floor
Will started his speaking and thought leadership work with talking about tools, but in the last three to four years, he has shifted the focus to learning. With that shift, he can barely stomach the vendor floor. Considering the show is called On The Vendor Floor, some might wonder why on Earth I would have a guest on the show who doesn't like the vendor floor. It's simple. Will makes me think; he helps me ask better questions of the companies building learning tools. I asked him what we should ask the vendors and what should we listen for in their responses. He encouraged us to ask if this tool is a teaching tool or a learning tool? Learners and learning should be at the center of our questions and their answers. Now, I know technology offers much to make the system more efficient, and having those tools in place is necessary. It goes back to this: if the school has being a culture of learning at its core, and we make purchasing decisions through that lens, we will serve our learners.
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