Many educators want to show that they are well read and that they are looking around the world for inspiration and ideas from some of the leading thinkers in the world. This helps to shape a vision for a more “globally inspired school” than if we are to only look at what we are doing in our own context.
That being said, the notion of “you can’t be a prophet in your own land”, to me, is one that wreaks of insecurity. Acknowledging someone in your own organization seems to make others feel “less than”, as opposed to realizing and celebrating that expertise has been developed within your own culture. That should be worn like a badge of honour, not taken as a slight.
Recently speaking at an event with Winnipeg School Division, the Chief Superintendent, Pauline Clarke, welcomed and celebrated staff before I had the opportunity to speak. She also shared a compelling vision of what schools can look like, yet when she quoted her references, she did not talk about what she has seen in “Finland” or certain institutions. She referenced, quoted, and connected her vision to what educators had said and done in her own schools. She acknowledged that the experts were actually in the room, and how her own thinking was inspired by them.
It was a nice reminder and view of “leadership in action”, as she empowered the people she served to continue pushing the envelope of what powerful and innovative learning can look like for their students, and themselves.
It also reminded me that connecting globally doesn’t matter if we can’t connect within our own communities.