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10 Ways to CYA (Challenge Your Assumptions) by Elita Driskill

Updated: May 30, 2019

Standards: Leadership; Learning Communities

How do we challenge our assumptions about professional learning and education?  

1. Hire a Coach

Professional coaches serve as thinking partners to open mental pathways.  

Leaders who work with a coach break cyclical thinking and accelerate their professional learning with greater focus and clarity.


2. Possibility Thinking

Generate 5 possibilities for an idea you are working to develop.  The first 2 or 3 are the most obvious. As you continue thinking, ideas become more creative.


3. Question Storming

In Change Your Questions Change Your Life, Marilee Adams recommends brainstorming in questions. Question thinking motivates us to find our answers and think more openly.


4. Network

Step outside your own organization and join others in your own field through professional organizations or job shadowing.  Social media offers expanded opportunities to connect to thought leaders.  Find people in similar work outside your area of expertise; professional learning leaders in education tap into corporate training expertise.


5. Data

Consider multiple sources of data -- student work, classroom walls, qualitative and quantitative.  Use protocols to examine data with colleagues.  Find numerous protocols in Data Driven Dialogue by Wellman and Lipton.


6. Ambiguity

Savor and leverage not knowing something.  Free yourself from the demands of an automatic assumption based on past experience.


7. Listen, Listen, Listen

What are you telling yourself?

What is your team saying?  Not saying?

What are you listening to?  (Media, audiobooks, speakers, co-workers)

How does this influence your thinking?


8. Reflect

Spend time reflecting daily.

What did I learn today?

How can I use that learning tomorrow?


9. Attend a Conference

Set a learning goal prior to attending.

Attend a conference, interact with fellow participants and thought leaders.  

Debrief learning with colleagues.

Develop an implementation plan for new learning prior to leaving the conference.


10. Professional Reading

Read a blog, book, or research material.


Questions to ponder:

What assumptions am I making about leading learning?

How are my assumptions influencing learning, my own and others?

Guest blogger contact information:  elitadriskill@gmail.com  @DriskillElita



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