I watched a TED Talk recently entitled, "How great leaders inspire action." In it, Simon Sinek discusses his idea of a Golden Circle which begins in the middle with answering the simple question of "why."
Why is the "why" so important? Well, to me, the "why" focuses us on a destination, a vision, or a promise. It makes sure that we do not waiver in how or what we are doing, so long as we retain connection to the "why."
Since I watched this TED talk two weeks ago I have been trying to come up with a good answer for my educational philosophy. Here is what I have so far: The best learning is conducted in communities and the best communities let you decide how you best learn while supporting you with dignity.
It is important to me that I use this concept in everything that I do. When I teach a class I want to make sure there is some element of group dynamic involved, be it discussion, group-based presentations, class trips, etc. When it comes to professional development I want to include the choices and knowledge of my colleagues in the sessions or learning going on. And when it comes to leadership, I want to trust and show faith in my fellow educators so that I do not always have to have the right answer, just know the right people.
I think the School District of Philadelphia has lost its answer to the question of "why." Instead, they are focusing more on the "what" and the "how." I truly believe the people who work downtown have their hearts set on helping children - they just get so focused on the latter two questions they don't stop to answer the most important one.