CERRA Book Club discussion

The Infinite Game
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The Infinite Game > Introduction - Chapter Two

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message 1: by Suzanne (new) - added it

Suzanne Koty | 63 comments Mod
Welcome to the first discussion. Respond to as many of these prompts as you would like.

1. Page xii: Sinek wrote that “[w]e tend to see the world in terms of successes and failures, winner and losers.”
This is true of our education systems and, sadly, sometimes our student populations. Whether we like it or not, we assign labels and grades. We judge.
What does this suggest about our approach to education? Can we bring an infinite mindset to the game of education? If so, how will we define our systems and our students? How do we begin the change?

2. Page viii: An entire industry has been born out of our need for a balance between work and life. This stems, according to Sinek from our frustration with a work/life environment that does not support our desire to change the status quo.
If you could change the status quo, where would you start? How do you balance work and life?
Do you agree that the need for that balance would be lessened by loving our jobs more?

3. Pages 3-4: Finite games have known players, a set of rules, a beginning/middle/end, and a winner and loser. Infinite games can have unknown players, no set of rules, no set timeline, and no winners and losers. There is no winning in marriage or friendship. You can’t win education. While you can beat someone out for a promotion, you can’t win a career.
How did you feel upon reading those words? I confess to wanting to declare my victory in certain categories? Are you guilty of defining your life by wins and losses? Do you have a competitive streak? Many of you have been given titles and accolades, but Sinek is suggesting that you can’t win. What’s your honest reaction?

4. Page 5: When we have leaders with finite mindsets, we have “decline of trust, cooperation and innovation.”
Have you seen evidence of this in education? Have you seen it in departments or grade levels?

5. Page 19: Does your school/district leadership use performance to demonstrate success or success to demonstrate value? How do they “sell” your organization to the community? What does that suggest about the game?

6. Page 20: Finite-minded strategies include cutting investment in research and development. In education, that means cutting meaningful professional development. Knowing that you can’t go to a conference or attend a workshop unless you pay for it hurts the culture. People go into self-preservation mode. They hoard information, hide mistakes, and operate in risk-averse ways.
Does this describe organizations you know? What effect does this have on morale? On learning? On retention? How can you, a leader, counter it?

7. Page 32: “A Just Cause is a specific vision of a future state that does not yet exist.” It is not the same as our Why which comes from the past.
It’s easy to read this book and agree that we need an infinite mindset. Can you articulate your Just Cause? Is it your own, or did you join someone else’s? As you contemplate your Just Cause, remember the 5 standards outlined on page 37. Remember that it can’t be vague; you can’t all just say you want to change the world because that does not tell anybody what you are doing. Take Sinek’s challenge, and write your Just Cause.


message 2: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Garrison (agarrison) | 3 comments Response to #3- I agree with the “no set rules, no end, etc“; however, I see it as a war with many battles. We do see small victories (and losses) in these daily battles but the “war” is never really over. Each battle that is fought teaches us something and gives us courage to grow stronger and smarter in certain areas. Over a lifetime, we use the knowledge gained from those battles to enhance our strategies for future battles. So I would have to think that yes we do have small victories and that’s what keeps me coming back day after day. If I never experienced a victory I would not want to continue in the war .


message 3: by Oleva (new)

Oleva Irvin | 3 comments 3) Growing up as a highly competitive soccer player, I often would measure my success on the field by wins, losses, statistics, titles, and/or accolades. According to Sinek, soccer would be classified as a finite game. There are rules and regulations to be followed while also providing a winning and a losing team. However, I felt that although I would “measure” my success, it also helped keep me driven. It motivated me to keep practicing. I continued to work hard and develop my craft.

I think “The Infinite Game” is a mindset. It can be applied to anything we do in life, even if it is a “finite” game like soccer. Although soccer does have winners and losers, the way I see myself as a player in the game, takes the shape of an infinite mindset. The growth I have made is not something I, or anyone, can truly measure. It’s subjective. What some may view as substantial growth may not be considered adequate enough by my standards, and vice versa.


message 4: by Oleva (new)

Oleva Irvin | 3 comments Andrea wrote: "Response to #3- I agree with the “no set rules, no end, etc“; however, I see it as a war with many battles. We do see small victories (and losses) in these daily battles but the “war” is never real..."

I liked how you compared this to war (my students are currently learning about the American Revolution). I agree with you that learning from our past experiences helps shape how we approach new ones and how the victories, no matter how small, help us get over the agony of defeat.


message 5: by Victoria (new)

Victoria | 2 comments Response to 1.
In our Teacher Cadet class, the conversation often comes up that students wish the system wasn’t so competitive in regards to learning. Many students lament that they worry more about the grade or the points instead of actually learning the material. Learning has taken a back seat to success in school such as being the valedictorian, getting a scholarship, or winning an academic award. In my opinion, a large part of this stems from testing at such a young age. This might be an unpopular opinion but it may be one of the negatives to data in that we use data to rank and judge student learning and instead categorize it as student achievement. I am reminded of the the quote ” Everybody is a Genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid.” Rather than limiting our students into success or failure (an example being college or no college) we should remember that every child learns differently and has a different path and that not going to college but learning a trade or joining the military is an incredible opportunity for our students to be successful.


message 6: by Cortney (new)

Cortney Chapman | 3 comments 3. What’s your honest reaction? I struggled with this as well. There are many times in my classroom or even in my personal life that I have felt like I have "WON" or at least accomplished something that was worth celebrating. Honestly, from my perspective some of those accomplishments were the best that they could be... so in my mind I guess I recognize finite moments within my infinite game.

4. Have you seen evidence of leaders with finite mindsets in education? YES!!!! I especially see evidence of this when teachers are being evaluated formally, informally and through SLO's. If you are scored at the "end" of a year/lesson by an admin or coach it seems as if there is an end in which you are being evaluated on. Also rarely do teachers create goals for the following year based upon the data collected from student evaluation tools such as MAP SCReady or PASS.... (yet teachers performances are evaluated on their growth)...
While I think that teachers value being told their areas of strengths and areas in which they could improve, I believe it can be detrimental to the attitudes and morales of teachers when evaluations are based primarily on a student's achievement. There are so many factors that can play into why a child may or may not have made their goal. Then in turn these students are then having the added stress of whether they made the best/worst scores within the class.


message 7: by Cortney (new)

Cortney Chapman | 3 comments Victoria wrote: "Response to 1.
In our Teacher Cadet class, the conversation often comes up that students wish the system wasn’t so competitive in regards to learning. Many students lament that they worry more abo..."


I teach Kindergarten and I completely agree that there is TOO MUCH TESTING in the younger grades! We barely have time to teach some days! I firmly believe that young kids learn best through productive play base activities and there is so little time to incorporate these opportunities in order to fit in the required amount of time for each subject area.


message 8: by AJ (new)

AJ Chambers | 5 comments 3) I will be the first to say that I am 100% competitive, but not with anyone else...with myself. I find that this is an aspect of the infinite game. This section of the book challenged me to look inward and really define what that means. I always say "we don't work to win awards, but do award-winning work." I stand true to that statement after reading the first chapter. This mindset fosters thinking beyond the box. It allows innovation. It challenges us to not be tempted to say "well, that's how we've always done it." BUT...I was also convicted for putting so much weight in comparing myself to others and valuing the accolades. In ten years, the awards and accolades will be dusty on a wall or stuffed in a closet; however, the experiences and relationships built change the way we live.


message 9: by AJ (new)

AJ Chambers | 5 comments Oleva wrote: "Andrea wrote: "Response to #3- I agree with the “no set rules, no end, etc“; however, I see it as a war with many battles. We do see small victories (and losses) in these daily battles but the “war..."

I am not sure if you saw the Valedictorian speech from The King's Academy in Florida last year? This epitomizes what your students say. He makes it faith-based, but it resonates beyond that as well. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T76Fd...


message 10: by Suzanne (new) - added it

Suzanne Koty | 63 comments Mod
Victoria wrote: "Response to 1.
In our Teacher Cadet class, the conversation often comes up that students wish the system wasn’t so competitive in regards to learning. Many students lament that they worry more abo..."


Victoria,
Has your class discussed competition within the profession itself? Have you seen competitiveness among those working in education? How does that impact culture? If someone is not willing to share or wants to maintain that hierarchy, does it make more difficult for those with an infinite mindset to seek improvement for the sake of the long-term goal?


message 11: by Suzanne (new) - added it

Suzanne Koty | 63 comments Mod
AJ wrote: "Oleva wrote: "Andrea wrote: "Response to #3- I agree with the “no set rules, no end, etc“; however, I see it as a war with many battles. We do see small victories (and losses) in these daily battle..."

AJ wrote: "Oleva wrote: "Andrea wrote: "Response to #3- I agree with the “no set rules, no end, etc“; however, I see it as a war with many battles. We do see small victories (and losses) in these daily battle..."

I think the young man in that video has recognized the shortcomings in the finite mindset. These are words we can all learn from.


message 12: by Britani (new)

Britani Magargle | 2 comments 1. Page xii: I believe that competency based education is one way to bring an infinite mindset to education. This allows us to focus less on labels and grades and more on individual students, where they are and what they need to be successful. Students can become self-directed learners, teachers can teach to mastery rather than grades.

2. Page viii: I believe that, especially in teaching, it is difficult to balance work and life. I do believe that if we are loving our jobs, the need for balance seems easier and less necessary. I have found that when I am prioritizing all aspects of my life (both work and personal) and doing things that I care about, balance seems to come naturally. Or maybe, more of a harmony.

3. Pages 3-4: "Infinite games can have unknown players, no set of rules, no set timeline, and no winners and losers. There is no winning in marriage or friendship. You can’t win education. While you can beat someone out for a promotion, you can’t win a career.” These words struck something within me, probably because they are so true. We should not be striving to win in any of these categories. Instead, we should be striving to always be a better version of each role in life; wife, mother, friend, teacher. I am a very competitive person, but I need to focus more on self improvement than “beating” others.

4. Sadly, I have seen this in education. Working for both an administrator with a finite mindset and one with an infinite mindset, the difference in the culture and environment is astounding. With the finite leader, I struggled. I didn’t feel supported, heard, appreciated. I was scared to come with new ideas or concerns. I was ready to race out of the door at the end of the day. With the infinite leader, I felt heard, appreciated, and most of all trusted to make professional and creative decisions to better my students. I was excited to try new things to enhance student engagement and success. I felt empowered so that I could, in turn, empower my students. I became better in all aspects of my life.

5. Page 19: I think all schools and districts use performance to demonstrate success. I think this is necessary for accountability purposes and for the community to see the amazing things our teachers, staff, and students are accomplishing. We also need data to show that new strategies and implementations are building success.


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