I have been doing some thinking about educational change…for quite some time. I have been intending to write a blog…for quite some time. I have had a fascination with fractals and what they represent for me…for quite some time. But this year I am diving in and bringing my thoughts about educational change and fascination with fractals to blog writing.
Now, you might ask, “What’s the big deal about fractals?”
That’s a great question for my first post.
When I reflect on why I am so fascinated with fractals I realize that they represent the way I think and provide a powerful metaphor for what I believe we need to create in our educational systems.
Looking back, as I developed as an educator and leader, my contributions definitely had a theme; I was able to make links between topics, initiatives and events, for example, in a way that made sense to me and resonated for those around me. New ideas didn’t seem so compartmentalized when I connected the dots and others seemed more willing to consider these ideas at the same time. This was before I knew what a fractal was.
When I attended the Adaptive Schools Foundation Seminar, I was introduced to what fractals were and how they applied to social systems, or organizations. Suddenly my thinking became clearer about what I had been trying to do.
The term “fractal” was coined by Beniot Mandlebrot to describe what he saw in all of nature. Fractals refer to a repeated pattern that possesses similar proportions across scale. Put another way, a fractal system has a base pattern that determines the structure of the whole system.
Everything we see in the natural world around us is based on fractal formulas. We see fractals in nature – in ferns, lightening flashes, along our coastlines and in broccoli florets.
What we notice in social organizations is that there are also fractals that occur across scale through our values, beliefs and cultures whether in our classrooms, lunchtime conversations or administrator meetings. These patterns have a cumulative effect on the organization. So, it becomes critical, then, for leaders to work to create new and productive patterns that support educational transformation.
In closing, I have a few things yet to share in this post:
According to the Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator, as an Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging Type, I have a natural ability to see connections and deeper meanings, which probably contributes to my affinity for fractals. But I also have a natural tendency to over-think or, at times, to doubt myself so it has taken some time to take this step to begin my blog.
But now I have begun. I am curious about the connections and patterns that will appear on the journey and hope it will be a contribution to yours.