Return to site



Happy New Year! We've arrived in 2023! I hope you've had the chance to refuel, refresh and reconnect to the people and activities that fill your cup. My break included a wonderful trip along the coast of Victoria and South Australia, and involved lots of pottering around at home. Bliss! My two young adult children will be off doing lots of overseas travel this year, so 2023 will be an exciting adjustment and evolution for all of us.

Thinking about the different phases of our lives and where we are in education at the moment made me reflect on being lead learners as educators. The continual and relentless challenges that 2022 brought to us as we tried to keep our heads up out of lockdowns have left many leaders and educators needing doonas, cups of tea and coffee and a good lie down!

My suggestion for heading into the 2023 school year (or school terms if you are in the northern hemisphere) is to walk into it lightly with an explorer's mindset. An explorer's mindset gives us permission to dream more. To be creative rather than roll out the 'way we always do it' approach. To explore new and exciting developments in education and our personal leadership with curiosity rather than resistance.

Here are some Ferocious Warmth - head/heart explorations that might resonate for you.


Where are you stretching towards? I've been exploring creating an immersive virtual reality Ferocious Warmth conversation module with Go1 and a software company called Talespin. It is fascinating, scary, intriguing and really pushing my learning zone. Artificial intelligence is embedded in everything we use digitally now and having an approach that is curious and explorative will help us approach how we use it in education far better than fear and trying to shut it down.

Headlines in mainstream media are often written to polarise and deflect deep exploration of new tools. One example currently is ChatGPT, labelling them simply as ways for students to 'cheat'. This type of tool can and will, without doubt, revolutionise education. But fear of change and the status quo and headlines designed purely to shock means that many educators and the community will make decisions about it before any careful examination or experimentation.

ChatGPT has been a rich ground for experimentation since it's release. ChatGPT is a large language model developed by OpenAI. It is trained on a dataset of internet text and can generate human-like text in response to a given prompt. It is often used for tasks such as text completion, conversation simulation, and language translation. There are vast ways it can be used in education that are being explored by educators who are willing to look more deeply at it's possibilities.

The wonderful Lauren Sawyer posted this resource on Linkedin via @herfteducator on Twitter: Teacher's Prompt Guide to ChatGPT aligned with 'What works best'. It gives brilliant examples of how teachers could use ChatGPT. I look forward to seeing what journey leaders in this space like Lauren and her students go on. There are also challenging questions to be posed and reflected on such as those in Leon Furze's blog on ChatGPT. Leon poses that we need to be engaging in two critical conversations:

If it can be done by an AI, does it need to be done at all? and

How do we use AI to augment, rather than outsource and replace, our most crucial roles in education?

Just thinking about these questions puts us into curiosity and discussion. Debate and experimentation need us to have that explorer's mindset. Otherwise we our habits of thinking can keep our thinking small. Linkedin and twitter both provide a rich environment to learn more about our near and far-horizon opportunities in quick time, rather than waiting for a book or paper. I love following people leading the discussions on these areas and musing on their findings and insights as I explore them myself.

Head exploration:

Who or what is stretching in your thinking?

Who is helping you explore ideas?

Of course being an explorer takes vulnerability - it needs the heart to bring the courage for change.

"Choosing to be curious is choosing to be vulnerable because it requires us to surrender to uncertainty. We have to ask questions, admit to not knowing, risk being told that we shouldn't be asking, and sometijmes, make discoveries that lead to discomfort."
Brene Brown, Atlas of the Heart.

The contextual balance of the head and the heart is the Ferocious Warmth leader's daily dance. Where can you lightly explore your emotions and feelings in a way that helps you uncover more insight about yourself and others?

Heart exploration:

Who or what is stretching your feelings?

This stretch might be into beautiful feelings or more challenging feelings.
What are they triggering in you?
What is the experience like?
Do you want to step into it more or manage it more?
Who is helping you explore yourself further?
Who could you connect more with this year?
How can you maintain connection with things that bring you joy and energy?

I hope the start of 2023 is an action and connection-packed beginning of a year of exploration.

PS - My word for the year is two words (!): DEEP PRESENCE.
I aim to deepen my connection with others and myself. I want to explore my thinking and feelings more deeply and those of others. And - a big aim is to get better sitting with stillness!

What's your word for the year? If you'd don't have one, it's a fun game to play.