Sunday, January 23, 2011

Team of 12?

In my last post I continued the focus on the state report card from the League of Education voters and shared a few more of my thoughts.  Two people responded to that post.  Scott shared his current reality teaching grade five where students are reading well, but where there is a gap in math and writing.  Ethan shared some of his thinking and classroom experience and some thoughts about the work of a group we call The Team of 12. 

This team has evolved over time and is one of my attempts at adaptive change.  The team is composed of all principals, Nancy, Dawn, Annette, and myself.  It is the responsibility of this team to identify current reality as it relates to implementation of Classroom 10 and then implement short and long term plans to support all teachers in this work.  Sounds like normal practice, how can this be adaptive? 

Heifetz identifies “adaptive challenges” as those that can only be addressed through changes in people’s priorities, beliefs, habits and loyalties; they do not lend themselves to technical fixes.  Normal practice for us would be the Teaching and Learning Department assuming primary responsibility for this work.  Normal practice would be identifying the goal and not first clarifying current reality.  Normal practice would be principals having a secondary role in planning.  Normal practice for us would include lack of focus on how we will identify success at the front end of the initiative.  Normal practice for us would be . . . and I could go on.

This shift is forcing us to challenge our beliefs about who is responsible for planning, implementation, and evaluation of major system initiatives.  Work roles and interaction patterns are changing and new structures are necessary as we move towards differentiating staff development to match need with strategy.  Yes Ethan, an important step is identifying current reality, something we do not do well.  Thanks for the comment and I welcome the challenge embedded in it. 

One might be wondering, where is the teacher voice in all this?

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