Transformational? Pfft! I don’t have time for that!

I’ve been thinking lots about thinking lately and decided to put some of it in a blog post. This has all been spurred on by doing one of Jane Gilbert’s papers, where there is a massive focus on thinking and becoming an ‘intellectual adult.’

I thought I thought lots until this paper. However, I have now come to realise that I worry and I plan and I go over situations where I messed up a lot in my head… but I don’t do as much transformational thinking as I thought I did.

By this I mean the kind of thinking that often takes a long time, is difficult and not immediately rewarding, is metacognitive, analytical, creative… and transforms a little piece of you when you do it.

People talk about the difference between transactional vs transformational leadership and I have thought a bit about how this might apply to my day to day work over the past couple of years. However, what about transformational thinking? I’m not sure many of us do heaps of that. Which is slightly worrisome, because if we are in the process of re-imagining schools and education this is exactly what we need to be doing!

So how do we make time for this? How do we value it? I guess there could be lots of school systems we could put around it but on an individual level, what do we do? I think we need a (transactional) system to allow to this so I have started trialing a little system to see how it works for me. I have a doc with three headings:

  • Transformational: To Read/Watch/Listen/Talk To
  • Transformational: Thinking – this is where I put half thoughts, questions, reflections, ideas that I need to mull over and so forth.
  • Transactional – this is where the traditional ‘to do’ list goes as well as ideas that I can put into action with no more transformational thinking involved.

So far this has worked well. When I am reading, listening to a podcast, attending a conference, I add bits under each heading. Then the aim is to tackle all the transactional things as per normal but also do some thinking on my own or with others on at least one of the transformational things. I’m also trying to prioritise the Transformational docs a bit more.

What systems do you have to value your own thinking time and be more transformational in what you do and think about? How do you make this a priority?


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