Transformational Learning and Leadership
Chapter: Ultimate Aims

Collaboratively Contextual Local Visions

Contextual Visions

Transformational student outcomes align to collectively contextualized local visions. Contextualized vision isn’t the focus of this paper (go here for that), but the insights in this paper will be meaningful and useable if we start with vision.

What do we want to be true for the kids in our classrooms today in the future? The CCVanswer to that question must be guide and be the heart of our work. And, the answer will endure and be achievable if it is informed by three things:

  1. A GLOBAL UNDERSTANDING of what the world will require of our students
  2. A deep understanding of the LOCAL COMMUNITY’S CONTEXT
    1. The strengths, interests, values, assets, and aspirations of students and their families, community leaders, and other stakeholders;
    2. Actual reality, grounded in an understanding of histories of resistance and oppressions; and
    3. CCV video - globalCurrent and potential realistic pathways of success in the community
    1. What strengths, interests, values, and aspirations do organizations, fellows, and alumni bring to the table?
    2. Are we exploring our identities, values, and motivations? Are we seeking to better understand our own cultures, identities, and histories? Are all grounded in the notion that our individual perspectives are the limited? Are we listening and reflecting actively?

If organizations cultivate collective, contextual student visions, teachers could then be welcomed into a process (the Contextual Vision process) that existed before them and will continue with their deep engagement over time — along with the local community, periodic re-visitation and reflection, and progress toward that vision.


Classrooms: Aligning Outcomes, Actions and Mindsets to a Contextual Vision

Staying aligned to a vision is hard. There are strong forces pulling us away from our visions everyday. There capacity challenges. an implicit commitment to doing things the way they ‘they’ve always been done,’ or a desire to ‘look good’ are magnetic forces that tempt us to act out of alignment to a contextualized vision. Our work is an ongoing struggle not to defer to those forces, even though sometimes our vision-alignment efforts can  conflict with those pressures. 

I invite you to exercise these ‘vision-alignment’ muscles by completing the table below. There are a few models to help you get the idea. For example, if, as a teacher, your purpose is actually to please your principal, teacher coach or org, how would you define and pursue student outcomes in that classroom? As you fill in the table, what do you notice about how purpose informs key features of classrooms (student outcomes, teacher actions, and teacher mindsets)?

paradigm pull

Three Classrooms

Transformational classrooms across the network are an enormous source of wisdom to understand the role purpose-alignment plays in classroom leadership. A key pattern we see in transformational classrooms is a strong Orientation to Vision. In classrooms such as Pooja’s, Saul’s, and Wisdom’s, we see teachers who have a vision — derived from a contextual vision — and align their decisions, actions, judgement, and plans with that local, specific vision for student success, joy, and opportunity.

meet the teachers

Try the same exercise as you did on the previous page, except with these contextualized visions for classrooms. After reading Pooja’s co-constructed vision, what outcomes do you anticipate she’ll prioritize and pursue? Based on his classroom’s vision, what will do you predict Saul will do with and for students (teacher actions)? What mindsets do think Wisdom embraces, based on that vision?

paradigm pull - three classrooms

Reflection Questions
  • What is the vision teachers in your context are pursuing? Are the classroom visions aligned to the org’s? How do to teachers internalize and act on their visions?
  • What’s helpful and what’s concerning about the ideas in this chapter?

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