Open Way Culture

So many education reforms, although well intended, ultimately fail. Many reforms are overwhelmed by the institutional inertia of the status quo when educators do not first attend to establishing an enabling culture for the change to develop and flourish. There are cultural essentials that are necessary for Open Way Learning to take root and thrive. These essentials include a clear and concise mission and vision that elicit a sense of urgency and action by all members of a learning community; a shared leadership model that uses the collective autonomy and talent of the entire team to make better and more empathetic decisions for a school; a culture of radical collaboration that quickens the pace of incremental and step-change improvement; open sharing of resources and knowledge based on trust and transparency, where the best ideas float to the top, not based on title or rank, but on merit; and a culture of rapid prototyping through the design process to produce customized innovations that meet the specific needs of your students and the community you serve. Each of these is foundational to establish a true OWL culture, and cannot be ignored. But they are not beyond the reach of anyone who has the passion to positively disrupt the legacy inhibitors that either limit or undermine the type of powerful education every student needs.

How To Implement

Discussion Starter Checklist

Video Tips

Other owl ingredients


Creating innovative teaching and learning environments requires an intense level of collaboration organized around a crystal clear shared vision. Radical collaboration that relies on a diverse set of perspectives and the collective creativity of the entire learning community - students and faculty - as they bring creative prototypes to bear on the often messy challenges we deal with in education. This also applies to modified governance frameworks where distributed leadership is highly encouraged by using teacher-powered schools frameworks.

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Free Knowledge

We learn more from each other and are able to respond to the needs of our learning community when information is open. The information age has changed the paradigm regarding the acquisition of knowledge. No longer dependent on formal institutions, today’s learner can easily find what she needs, when she needs it. Rather than fighting this current, educators need to learn to leverage it by shifting away from hoarding tendencies, shifting from being “teachers” to “learning guides,” and encouraging open, transparent sharing in their classrooms.

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The challenges facing our world demand innovative thinkers that use creative problem solving to tackle messy problems. But the term “innovation” has been thrown around so much that it has lost its potency. Open Way Learning focuses on true innovation that thrives in an environment of radical collaboration and open, freely exchanged ideas. It is within this environment that educators and students are able to use the Design Process to develop continuous improvement mindsets that help them solve pressing problems in their schools.

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