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Thinking Wrong: Academy Attendees Contemplate When, and How, to Disrupt the Status Quo

In the second session of AACTE’s 2021 virtual Leadership Academy Series, attendees explored the benefits of When Thinking Wrong is Right: Purposeful Disruption of the Status Quo. Facilitated by Kandi Hill-Clarke, dean of the College of Education at the University of Memphis, and Patty Alvarez McHatton, senior vice president at Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity, participants engaged in a number of activities inspired by the book Think Wrong: How to Conquer the Status Quo and Do Work That Matters.

During the first part of the session, facilitators engaged in a review of the six practices that enable disruptive, yet productive and forward-thinking, work. These practices include 1) be bold, 2) get out, 3) let go, 4) make stuff, 5) bet small, and 6) move fast. Attendees were then challenged to reflect upon how thinking wrong is needed, both within colleges of education and the education field overall, and to consider how these six principles could be used to create deflection points that would enable a shift from how things are to how things might be in the future.

In small breakout groups, session participants put these principles into practice. Each group evaluated a point of action they wanted to implement in their school or college of education, with the goal being to determine opportunities where they could begin their change work. Groups followed a process to make these decisions, evaluating action points ranging from diversification of the teaching workforce to recruitment and retention of faculty of color, which included the following:

  • Describing the current state pertaining to their point of action (the good, the bad, and the otherwise)
  • Describing the aspirational state for their point of action (how they might want things to be)
  • Reflecting upon benefits and challenges they would encounter when implementing their bold action paths

With bold action paths identified, the next challenge for each group was to contemplate how they would engage in next steps. To determine the best path forward, attendees participated in a group activity known as “The Big Yes Drill.” Within each group, members took turns brainstorming and adding actions that could foster and grow their bold ideas. This activity not only assisted in bringing ideas to greater heights, but also generated a positive, “plussing” mindset amongst collaborators. Participants in each group not only had a greater appreciation for the elasticity of their bold ideas, but also gained insight into how their ideas might translate into solutions.

The AACTE 2021 Leadership Academy Series includes one final session: Reimaging the Future: A New Vision for Academic Leaders, taking place on January 25, 2022. Registration to the final session grants access to recordings of the first two as well. Spots are limited so register now.

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Matthew Wales

Vice President, Member Services & Events