At first, I was caught completely off guard by the expectation of creating a visioning statement. For whatever reason, I couldn’t wrap my head around the concept. From the little that I knew about a visioning statement, I thought it was a term used mostly in the corporate world of companies and businesses. When I first mentioned the visioning assignment to my wife, she was also confused, and questioned why we would be doing something so corporate in an education curriculum class. I vaguely remember the term from a course in organizational behavior, and I initially had to agree with her that it seemed rather odd in this setting at first.
After digging a little deeper, it began to make a lot of sense. It only took a small amount of searching and reading for me to realize that the goals and ideas that I have been thinking about, were in fact a part of my vision statement. From what I understand now, a vision statement is simply a description of what you are aiming for, working towards – a description of ideal goals or dreams. As I searched, I found that (as suspected) many of the definitions of a vision statement do in fact come from a corporate world of organizational behavior. However, I found a couple of definitions that were key in allowing me to understand that visioning has much broader applications than simply being used by business leaders.
The first definition that was important in aiding my understanding of the process was that “A vision statement is a vivid idealized description of a desired outcome that inspires, energizes and helps you create a mental picture of your target” (Constandse, 2008). Visioning is a process that applies to anyone who sets goals or who seeks to achieve something. As such, visioning is certainly transferable to paths in education. The second piece of information that cleared the fog for me was that, “most successful people have written vision statements.” Reading this allowed me to understand that visioning is a process that ultimately applies to any person or organization with goals of being successful. Visions statements are linked with the achievement of success, as they allow people to picture their goals clearly and concisely. Visioning allows individuals to keep their goals in sight and sharply in focus.
I also have come to understand the visioning is about thinking ‘big picture’, or about thinking about ideal outcomes. Visioning is about clearly stating the ‘what’ that is desired, not necessarily even thinking about the ‘how’.
In hind-sight, it seems somewhat funny that I was confused about something that now seems so logical. After the first day of this class, I changed the banner at the top of the introduction page to my web space to read the following quote that has been translated from the words of Mohandas Gandhi. The quote reads, “Be the change that you want to see in this world.” Simple, yet profound.
In many ways this has been the mantra through which I have been viewing this course, and much of my own teaching this semester. In many ways, this quote sums up my visioning. I want to inspire change. I want to awaken students to the understanding that change is inevitable, that change is necessary, that the needs are immediate, and that change is already happening. I want my students to understand that they have the ability to create change; to be change. I want this for myself, for my family, my children, and for my students.