Responsibility, Creativity, and Adaptive Action

Posted by Leslie Patterson, North Star of Texas Writing Project and Human Systems Dynamics Institute

I’m a lucky woman.

I get to work with the most amazing, reflective, responsive, and thoughtful teachers I can imagine! They are a part of the North Star of Texas Writing Project — a National Writing Project site. And most of them also work with methods/models from the Human Systems Dynamics Institute.

They teach in elementary, middle, high schools and in universities. Some of them are “early career” teachers — barely out of their certification programs, and some of them have taught for decades. Some of them work as coaches and administrators. Their students are rich and poor; old and young; eager and reluctant. They open doors and windows for their students. They set conditions for students to recreate themselves as readers, writers, and thinkers each day of their school lives. They make it possible for their students to imagine how they might change their worlds. They give their students the tools to take action.

Even with the tragic and frightening events around the world in the last few weeks, I am hopeful. I am hopeful because I am lucky enough to watch the work of these amazing teachers. I’m lucky to see their hope and love in action.

In Minneapolis this week, at the annual meetings of the National Writing Project and the National Council of Teachers of English, I get to hear these teachers present their work to their colleagues who have come from across the country.

The work of a few of these teachers is posted in blogs below. These five teachers–Carol Wickstrom, Marla Robertson, Amanda Goss, Audrey Wilson Youngblood, and Whitney Young–are presenting Friday, November 20, about Adaptive Action — an inquiry cycle described by Glenda Eoyang and Royce Holladay in Adaptive Action: Leveraging Uncertainty in Your Organization.

Slide1Adaptive Action is a simple yet powerful structure that helps us see, understand, and influence patterns in complex systems where we live and work–systems like classrooms, campuses, and school districts. You’ll find a longer explanation below at

Download this pdf for an introduction to these teachers’ stories:    NCTE roundtable intro pdf

Scroll down to the next five blogs for these teachers’ stories.

I am confident that you will enjoy these stories, but I’m also confident that you will find ideas that you can put to work in your own classrooms next week. We’d love to hear how it goes!

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