By Jeremy Goldstein
I was meeting with one of our members recently and I was reminded of a session I led with faculty and staff just prior to reconvening a school community in person- this was 2021 and it does seem like a lifetime ago. Some of you may recall sessions where you were reflecting on what was learned in the “Great Pivot” to remote learning that included a Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle approach to school. Learning and growth are challenging, and undoubtedly the darkest days of the pandemic had us reflecting on the work that we do with colleagues and students that had become somewhat routine prior to such huge changes in work and life in general.
I find visual tools, metaphors, and other creative devices to be effective in facilitating conversations and creating artifacts that capture what we explore and hope to implement in schools. As I sat down to write this, I thought about what Spring 2023 has in store for education communities: wrapping up, saying hello and goodbye, and setting sights on the next school year.
On that note, I want to offer a tool that might help frame your next chapter of school leadership, teaching and learning, and culture building: Ecocycle Planning from Liberating Structures. It prompts us to look at our school communities as systems where things grow and change each year.
At Folio Collaborative, we are in the business of helping schools and their people with thoughtful growth, and this ecocycle planning tool could guide reflection for individuals, groups, or workspaces. Inspired by this visual tool and metaphor, we offer the following prompts:
- What is being “born” or emerging in your work?
- What is an area or lesson that would be prime for “creative destruction”?
- What are some ideas that you are incubating?
- What are you proud of and consider “matured” this year?