Learning Omnivores


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We are an amorphous group of educators who have joined together—a tribe really— to learn from a diverse group of gifted, interesting and sometimes provocative learned people in the world. We’ve learned from the likes of poet David Whyte, provocative educators David Berliner, Gene Glass, and Yong Zhao, linguist George Layoff, researchers and professors Carol Dweck, Andy Hargreaves, Art Costa and Bena Kallick, Jon Saphier, and Tony Wagner.

We are about learning—exploring ideas to understand more deeply the institutions of education. We are also intrigued by the processes individuals experience while learning.

We’ll feature a blog about current issues around learning. We’ll offer reviews of books we’re reading. And we’ll focus on “New Rules”, changes in attitude and behavior we educators must exhibit to survive in our world of surprising changes.


GRRReat We all want great learning, great schools, and great success in the future. For the past several years the narrow focus has been on test scores. Schools compete with other schools, states and provinces compete with other states and provinces, and PISA scores seem to be the only assessment measure that is taken seriously. […]

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Failure IS an Option

We have been around a long time, both over 40 years in education, and worked in many parts of the country. One of us, mostly as a building principal, and the other as former teacher, counselor, and union business agent. We have heard lots of rhetoric about what needs to happen and have seen many […]

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No More Emotional Anorexia

No More Emotional Anorexia Great teachers are emotionally intelligent and connect with their students and colleagues, they have the understanding that positive relationships are the bedrock of successful schools. This can be emotionally draining and if we do not replenish regularly then it can lead to what I call emotional anorexia. The emotionally anorexic lose […]

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Metaphors that illuminate the work of leaders

Metaphors that illuminate the work of leaders Giselle O. Martin-Kniep May 14, 2018 University Business, June 2018 Twitter Facebook Share Why are metaphors useful? Language is central to our humanity, and the language we use defines how we see ourselves, others and the world. If we see arguments as war we respond very differently than if we see […]

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You Need a Slap in the Face

By Bill Sommers A couple of months ago, our Learning Omnivores group, spent time with Stan Slap, the author of Bury My Heart at Conference Room B.  After reading this book and his second book, Under the Hood, we felt there were messages for educators in Stan’s work.  And, we were correct. Stan graciously took […]

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Metamorphosis Teaching Learning Communities

Metamorphosis Teaching Learning Communities Can We Talk? Lucy West & Yitzchak Francus Changing the day-to-day culture of schools from one in which adults work solo in silos has been a focus of the many leaders and researchers who understand that professional learning is the key to student learning, and that professional learning requires collaboration. Yet, […]

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ReImagining Learning: It Won’t be Easy!

ReImagining Learning: It Won’t be Easy!  “Perhaps for the first time in history, human-kind has the capacity to create far more information than anyone can absorb; to foster far greater interdependency than anyone can manage, and to accelerate change far faster than anyone’s ability to keep pace. ”   ~ Peter Senge   I read […]

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Gray Matters

By Bill Sommers Skip Olsen   In the song by the Mama and Papas, there is line, “All the leaves are brown…”  In working, leading, teaching, etc it seems like all the decisions are gray.  It is easy to live in a world or work in an organization and in living life where things are […]

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Emotional Anoxeria

Emotional Anorexia By William Sommers “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast” Peter Drucker   I ask you a question, “What are we waiting for?”  Working in schools for over 40 years I keep hearing professionals (teachers and administrators) whining about not feeling appreciated.  Yes, in many schools I have been a principal, we have developed a […]

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Supervising Principals by Saphier & Durkin

Supervising Principals: How Central Office Administrators Can Improve Teaching and Learning in the Classroom — The Missing Link for Scaling Up School Improvement Jon Saphier & Pia Durkin Many change agents agree that putting a good principal in every school is the key to improving classroom instruction. Findings by the Wallace Foundation and by McREL […]

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New Rule: Pull Don’t Push

New Rule: Pull Don’t Push Question: Is it easier to push a wagon from behind with a load or pull a wagon from the front?  Most people I ask say it is easier to pull the wagon from the front with the handle than to push from behind. So, a quote I either saw, heard […]

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Start Fighting Alligators

New Rule:  Start Fighting Alligators What does it take to fight the alligators in the swamp or in life?  The following story was told by Patrick O’Neill (Extraordinary Conversations) in a workshop with Angeles Arrien. This story provides six elements of being efficacious and proactive.  Efficacy is one of the highest predictors in teachers who […]

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New Rule: Stop Pretending We Don’t Know

New Rule:  Stop Pretending We Don’t Know In 1991, Carl Glickman wrote an article called, “Pretending Not to Know What We Already Know.”  As I read this again, in preparation for this rule, it is as true today as it was in 1991.  Good Grief.  It seems to me that most things have become political […]

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New Rule: Be a Peach, not a Coconut

New Rule:  Be a Peach, Not a Coconut William Sommers, PhD There has been a tremendous amount of books and research about leadership.  Theory X, Theory Y, Theory Z and everything in between.  There are kick butt leaders, spiritual leaders, open leaders, clear leaders, etc.  The motivational research by Harlow, Deci, Pink and others indicate […]

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