Friday, November 20, 2015

Strategically Compliant or Authentically Engaged

Strategically Compliant or Authentically Engaged.

Strategically Compliant or Authentically Engaged.

Strategically Compliant or Authentically Engaged.

Since hearing this statement -- I've spent moments reflecting on the words and what they mean to me in my professional and personal life.

Last week I had the opportunity to learn with our #BCTLT and @jimknight99,  Jim Knight is a guru on instructional coaching and he shared these comments in reference to students within our schools.

 Are students strategically compliant 
or 
are they authentically engaged 
in our educational environments?  

I think this is a great question to ponder and reflect upon.

Today, I made a sign to hang on my desk to keep this statement as a reminder to continue to reflect and learn.

The picture I chose to put with these words is of our oldest daughter, Katie.  In this picture she was running at a high school cross country meet at Rogers Park and it was a nasty, cold, windy and rainy day.  

If you've ever been to a cross country meet, you are aware that some courses are more challenging than others and some meets we are blessed with having fantastic weather and other times the weather stinks!  Rogers Park is a challenging course and when those added unpleasant weather elements are part of the equation, we have to be super fans and courageous runners to give our best on the course. 

Yes, you read that correctly, fans need to give their best on the course for the runners and for me that meant running the course to find as many places as possible to cheer on the runners.  For those of you that don't know this, being a cross country parent is a great way to double dip -- cheer for your kids and get in a work-out!)

The week before the race at Rogers Park, when this picture was taken, Katie had a race that was not one of her best.  It wasn't because she wasn't physically prepared.  Her coach, Marty Thomae, knows his stuff and has been recognized as one of the top cross country coaches in the nation.  For some reason her head wasn't in the race that night and she did not perform at the level she was capable of.  She was strategically being compliant by being a participant -- she didn't fake being hurt to get out of the race.  For some reason, on this particular night, she was not able to give her best or be authentically engaged during that race.

So, fast forward a week to the Rogers Park meet.   +Jim Magdefrau snapped this picture; when Katie crossed the finish line in first place on this nasty, cold, windy and rainy night.  I think Jim captured perfectly Katie being authentically engaged in this race.  

If you can't tell, I am a proud parent and am also someone who happens to of earned a degree in persistence (Ph.D.), which I found in my research is one of the factors that helps move people to being authentically engaged.  When I got to the point of determining a dissertation topic I chose "student engagement".  I had many people tell me we learn to hate our dissertation topics because we spend so much time "wrestling" with the dissertation -- but three plus years after finishing my Ph.D., I am still a student of the topic and fascinated by the concepts of student engagement.  I persevere to learn more and here's a great @edutopia  site with great engagement ideas and resources. 

Professionally, I wrestle with how we help create learning environments for students and staff that help facilitate being authentically engaged.  Voice, choice, persistence, authentic applications of learning, fostering autonomy with support and relationships are some of the factors which promote being authentically engaged.  But, I believe that relationships are the key to making all other aspects of engagement ascertain maximum levels of achievement.  I also believe this is why Marty Thomae is part of so many state championships -- he "gets" how important building relationships with his athletes is to their own and the team's success.  

Personally, I find as I have become older, and hopefully wiser, I am much more aware of when I am being strategically compliant or authentically engaged.  Being present in the moment is a skill that I continue to practice.  My grandmother, bless her heart, told me, "The older we get the faster time goes."  I use to think she was crazy, now I know she knew what she was talking about:)  I need to continue to work on being present in the moments, because moments fly by so quickly.

So, a thought I'd like to leave you with a question to ponder when you are planning for instruction, learning something new or spending time with your significant others:  

Are you being strategically compliant or authentically engaged?


P.S.  Katie doesn't really doesn't like the picture of her winning this race -- but I absolutely love it.  She thinks it looks boastful and 'braggy".  I think it looks like the champion she was and is.  She was then, and is now, so capable of success and I love seeing her authentically engaged in whatever life has in store for her, whether that be riding a moped or being a mom:) 





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