Learning Chaos



The intersection of Leadership, Learning and Language from a recovering English teacher, leadership coach, and lifelong learner.


  • Amazing Grays

    22/03/2018 Duración: 10min

    The generational divide. It keeps cropping up, as it should. Maybe we of the advance guard, the baby boomers, can stop carping about what’s wrong with the groups coming up behind us. After all, it’s their turn, or soon will be. Why don’t we model acceptance and be interested in, rather than frightened by, their wonder? Become amazing grays.

  • Present tense, present relaxed

    16/02/2018 Duración: 09min

    Maybe being tense is an addiction. Like alcoholism. What if we could learn to replace what I call present tense with present relaxed? Listen for a few minutes, just listen without trying to do anything else. Inducing tension is a habit; we can learn that the feeling of excitement from being tense is not strength but noise.

  • Renee Sandell and Visual Fitness

    27/12/2017 Duración: 16min

    Renee Sandell has found a life in art. An accomplished artist herself, she is passionate about art’s central power in life and in living. She brings that passion to a focus on art education. We can all understand art’s form, theme and context and bring that understanding into everything we do, developing our capacity for living. You’ll hear her passion as we have a conversation about visual fitness.

  • Why Share Leadership?

    20/12/2017 Duración: 11min

    What if the more power we share, the more power there is? The answer to Why Share Leadership? is “because it works.” Schools, businesses and agencies can establish a more powerful, transparent and productive community when they see leadership not as a commodity but as nourishment. Here’s how to make it happen.

  • Charles Sosnik and a Passion for Learning

    20/11/2017 Duración: 33min

    Charles Sosnik is the Editor in Chief at edCircuit, a popular online magazine dedicated to education and learning. He and I share a devotion to improving the classroom, each of us hoping to make a difference in the opportunities for teachers, students and all of us to find and exercise the joy of lifelong discovery.

  • Teaching Beyond Knowledge

    07/11/2017 Duración: 16min

    When I started teaching, I thought that my job was to know everything. After all, that’s how I thought of my teachers. We teachers can’t compete with the Internet. We must re-define our necessity by helping our learners to become managers of information so they learn to be focus on understanding, insight, and meaning—beyond knowledge.

  • Ambiguity Drives Leadership

    20/10/2017 Duración: 10min

    The world is increasingly rife with ambiguity, has been for decades, and will continue. Rapid cultural, social, and organizational change can be intimidating and lead to nostalgia for what seemed like a simpler time. As Thomas Wolfe said, “You can’t go home again.” Ambiguity provides unease and also great opportunity (and necessity) for a new kind of leadership built on mutualism and creative tension.

  • Bridging the Generational Divide through Lateral Listening

    31/08/2017 Duración: 13min

    We’re all faced with what may seem like unbridgeable differences. Between the generations, between employees and supervisors, conservatives and liberals, teachers and administrators. Lateral Listening is a practice that bridges these divides, if we have the tenacity to learn it and the courage to practice it. The payoff is astonishing.

  • Harnessing the Power of Cadence, from the Class Room to the Board Room

    13/07/2017 Duración: 13min

    Cadence is a powerful tool to help us improve our leadership. Cadence can serve as a frame to make us more effective in how we lead, teach, and even speak to one another. The podcast serves up some simple tips that can transform our interactions, from the class room to the board room.

  • Fingerspitzengefühl

    04/07/2017 Duración: 15min

    Fingerspitzengefühl is a spectacular word, both to say and practice. The best translation I can find is "finger-tip feeling." Equal doses of instinct, intuition, and a gestalt approach to information can produce powerful thinking and decision-making.

  • The Swing Shift Leadership Triad

    23/06/2017 Duración: 11min

    One of the pleasures of my life is the people I work with. In this case, a room full of warehouse workers kicked me out for an hour while they figured out leadership simply and clearly. What they came up with is amazing! See what you think . . .

  • Wicked Learning for Wicked Problems

    20/06/2017 Duración: 12min

    "Wicked Problem" describes any situation that can't be solved in the traditional sense with a single answer. 2 + 2 = 4 is a "tame problem" with a single solution. Learning and education are wicked problems - they need lots of different perspectives without the goal of "the correct answer." When we think we've solved a wicked problem, we're relying on too narrow a kind of thinking. As teachers and learners, we can start looking more at possibilities rather than searching for "the answer," and encourage our students to expand rather than contract how they see exploring solutions.

  • Enlisted Relationships

    11/05/2017 Duración: 11min

    Among the myriad buzzwords in OD (itself the king of buzzwords) are two that raise my hackles: "unintended consequences" and "empowerment." I'd like to suggest we reframe both, as they imply a kind of control we need to abandon.

  • Laughtership

    11/05/2017 Duración: 11min

    One of the qualities of every effective leader (regardless of her/his title) I have met is a willingness to laugh, especially in self-deprecation. Laughter releases endorphins, boosts our immune system, activities the deep learning part of the brain (watch kids!), and engages everyone around us. When we laugh with rather than at, we enlist those around us, an act of courage and trust.

  • Cluelessness

    20/01/2017 Duración: 11min

    How often do we confuse intent and impact, thinking that how others' behavior or words affected us is what they intended? When we react instead of considering the possibility of cluelessness as the cause, we remove the possibility of learning rather than blaming. We can give others the benefit of the doubt and move forward with feedback rather than getting stuck in our own assumptions.

  • Bass Ackwards Planning

    22/11/2016 Duración: 12min

    There's nothing inherently good or bad about structure. We trainers, facilitators, teachers and leaders can make space for more excited and effective learners. An important key to improving our class rooms and retreats is to embrace bass ackwards planning.

  • Richard King and a Drummer's Lot

    06/10/2016 Duración: 26min

    Richard and I go way back. He's a consummate drummer, and he knows vinatge hardware like no one else, which is why the Rolling Stones called him when Charlie Watts had a drum emergency. Without the beat, the music doesn't move. Richard IS the beat.

  • Maslow's Basement

    04/09/2016 Duración: 11min

    Abraham Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” has been around a long time. We know that when people are fearful, their ability to think and perform at higher levels is compromised, so why is anxiety still so much a part of our schools and businesses? The podcast (and newsletter) contains three suggestions for reducing fear in schools and the workplace.

  • Appendix, Wisdom Teeth, and Tests 816

    08/08/2016 Duración: 10min

    Though there are data to suggest a connection between grades and achievement, there are no compelling data to suggest a link between grades and lifelong learning. Grades and performance appraisals link learning to anxiety, a very non-productive connection in a post-assembly line world. Grades depend on a standardized approach to education, which hasn't worked effectively for decades, maybe longer!

  • The Tepidity of Tolerance

    02/07/2016 Duración: 09min

    I recently worked with a group where the word "tolerance" caused a wonderful, chaotic conflict. We finally reached agreement that tolerance (which comes from a word meaning 'to bear pain') is a tepid way to see others' differences. We agreed that acceptance and celebration are much better words, and much better thinking.

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