With the 2010 school year about to start, I thought I’d dust off some concepts and ideas from past years and put them together to focus some thinking on what proactive schools might be doing in the next little while. It only takes some reading from Twitter posts and elsewhere to see that the operating environment continues to evolve at an exponentially growing rate. This article, for example, posted by @Darcy1968 provides a good look at the changing parent clients, and the continued trends in technology and its impact on pedagogy once again underscore the imperatives.
This simple reversal of words provides us with a very different paradigm to begin the new year. Yes, there are the givens, the systemic limitations, resourcing deficits and external accountability pressures. There is still, however, the constant possibility for people to adjust their mental models and to embrace the possibilities of the future, rather than stare wistfully at the rear view mirror.
And, maybe we can borrow from some management theory in looking at the way we organise for curriculum delivery.
Leadership is best informed by a big picture view, along with the ability to zoom between close and longer fields. We live in a world where curious dichotomies exist between close local communities and the longer distributed social networks and internet communities. It is this context which shows, in stark relief, a need to employ a construct which is ‘tight, loose, tight. That is: we need to be tight around our expectations, what we see as important, what we want to be the outcome of what we do. We also need to be tight around the expectation that we be able to measure our success, our growth, our level of frustration: our performance. Then, like some chocolates, it is the bit in the middle that creates the excitement. It is the bit which empowers, which says: ‘Within this framework of clarity around expectation and evaluation, you have permission to make this happen in ways which suit your context, and which are undertaken to provide the best ‘lift’ possible’. – From ‘Doing what’s BEST‘
Yes, we must be tight around expectations and limit setting. Despite seeking to encourage excitement at the thought of setting off for new places, we need to ensure that everybody feels safe doing so, and that they have some sense of why it is that we are going and what we hope we might find there.
We need also to be tight around the ability we have to demonstrate clear outcomes: our accountability environment and our moral purpose demand no less.
It is the place in the middle which creates exciting possibilities in pedagogy and also in student learning. Styles and preferences, harnessing of gifts and talents, working from areas of personal interest, integrating aspects of social media and connectedness: tapping into the marvellous talent and capability of the 21st Century learner. Give them permission to amaze us!
And, as a possible organiser, have a think about this view of a 3 ring circus. There will be times when the concentration is in 1 or 2 rings only. We should ensure, however, that the core values always manifest themselves, and that each of the 3 rings is explored at some stage, with an absolute imperative to ensure that we do not neglect those things which enable us as humans to re-create body, mind and soul.
I have these slides together in a powerpoint presentation which I’m happy to share. If you’d like a copy, just click here
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