Over the past few weeks, I have been taking some time to dig more deeply into collaborative inquiry.
I began reading Jenni Donohoo’s book Collaborative Inquiry for Educators: A Facilitator’s Guide to School Improvement, which is a valuable resource for anyone involved in education. It contains not only clear, research-based information about CI, but also includes excellent examples of how to facilitate learning through CI.
After reading through the whole book quickly, I sat down to dig more deeply into some of the ideas, and I was stopped on the very first page. It’s here that Jenni discusses the two different types of challenges we face as educators.
“Technical” challenges are those we face regularly, and where we have set protocols and solutions to come to the resolution we are looking for. We have the capacity and will to solve them as part of our daily work.
“Adaptive” challenges, on the other hand, are challenges that require new learning. They are problems that old solutions don’t work for any more, or new challenges that we don’t know how to address. In order to tackle these new challenges, we need to rethink what we believe to be true.
We have to “adopt new values and beliefs” (p. 1) before we can solve adaptive challenges.
As the world continues to change at an exponential pace, educators face more and more adaptive challenges. The old models of “school” don’t work in our connected world, and our methods must evolve to support our students to thrive in today’s reality.
Adaptive change is particularly difficult because it requires that we reconstruct our understanding of our work.
As we work together to solve adaptive challenges, our thinking changes, and our way of doing business changes with it. As we adapt to these new challenges, it changes us.
For me, one of my greatest personal challenges is engaging leaders in the notion that connecting, sharing, and learning together – modelling the change we want to see in our students’ learning – is important and worthwhile.
This simple explanation of adaptive challenges, and the fundamental change in thinking and acting that must accompany our response, helps me to better understand the difficulties we face in trying to adapt an entire system to the realities of the world today.
How are you adapting to new challenges in education?