Now that I have a vision for my innovation plan, I need to communicate that vision effectively. With this comes the need for leadership and conversation. Doing this in a determined, decisive, and visionary way, while keeping my “wits” about me, is what it takes to reorient an organization, according to Edwin Friedman (203).
Friedman talks about the importance for a leader to practice self-differentiation, or the capacity to become oneself with minimum reactivity to the positions for reactivity in others. In my organization, it will be important for me to continue to chart my course by using what I have learned this year as my own internal guidance system.
There are, unfortunately, poorly differentiated leaders that could infect others with issues. They tend to create an emotional triangle, bringing other people into drama with them. It is important for self-differentiated leaders to avoid the triangle and tolerate the discomfort of others. Self-differentiated leaders also may be sabotaged by others, but will respond without anxiety, as this is the “key to the kingdom” (Camp, 2010).
A self-differentiated leader can have crucial conversations, while a poorly differentiated leader would struggle as their own anxieties take over. It is the integrity of this leader that promotes the integrity and will prevent the dis-integration of the ePortfolio team I have started building on my campus.
I will strive towards self-differentiation by continuing to clarify my own goals and not become lost in anxious emotional processes. I will strive to separate while still remaining connected and, therefore, maintain a modifying, non-anxious, and sometimes challenging presence (Friedman 15-16).
At the same time, I want to continue to be willing to encounter the unexpected. “The willingness to encounter the unexpected that Columbus and other explorers manifested not only can free minds from their sets; it also enables us to imagine the unimaginable.” This is what we must do in the face of every single odd, and only the most self-differentiated leader can do it. We need to imagine the unimaginable in education and be willing to have the most crucial conversations the world has ever heard.
Camp, J. [Mathew David Bardwell]. (2010, November 10). Friedman’s theory of differentiated leadership made simple [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgdcljNV-Ew&feature=youtu.be
Friedman, E. H. (2017). A failure of nerve: Leadership in the age of the quick fix. Church Publishing.
But what is an ePortfolio?
My school has had a Wax Museum every year since they opened. They were the first ones to do it. Anywhere. Because we are innovators!
Except this year we will not be able to host the traditional event. In my present ePortfolio entrenchment I see a solution. Let’s be innovative again, and start a new tradition. One that sets students up for their future of research rather that only reflecting the past. In a memo to my principal for the leadership meeting tomorrow, I told her that ePortfolios could include:
- Files of various formats (video, slideshows, images, etc.)
- Writing samples (including several drafts tos how development and improvement)
- Evidence related to all courses taken
- Projects prepared for class for extracurricular activities
- Evidence of creativity and extracurricular activities, including examples of leadership or community involvement
I also mentioned benefits of ePortfolios:
- Empower student voice and choice
- ePortfolios help students develop digital composition skills
- Students share and reflect on their work themselves
- Research shows that operating an ePortfolio stimulates memory and deepens understanding of past experiences.
- Research shows that the combination of thinking about design and textual content provides higher-impact learning experiences than simply putting words on paper.
- Demonstrate deeper level of personal growth over time
It wasn’t until I spent 9 weeks in thought and creation of my own ePortfolio that I came to understand it as a catalyst for communication, creativity, and collaboration.