Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Leadership and learning . . .

The 2012 opening leadership workshop is now behind us.  We spent two days with principals, teacher leaders, and Teaching and Learning staff revisiting some old knowledge and skills and introducing some new knowledge and skills to support our Classroom 10 journey.  The work is designed to support growth in becoming a learning organization and to provide building leadership teams with knowledge, skills, and data to continue planning for the support that teachers need to meet system and building goals.

The review included a focus on the power of mental models to control our behavior and influence our capacity to be open to new ideas and ways of being.  We dug deeper into using the iceberg or results pyramid to assist us in deepening our knowledge about our current reality and then using this knowledge as leverage for identifying the structures necessary to close the gap between that reality and our preferred vision for Classroom 10.  Creative tension, the Experience Cube, and balancing high demand with high support were also included in our focus.

Our new learning included revisiting the importance of feedback and introducing some new ways of providing it.  We learned about the difference between instructional and facilitative coaching and the importance of the coach being aware of the need to intentionally focus on each area.  We want the capacity to support knowledge and skill development (instructional – ways of doing) and we also want the capacity to influence and support new ways of thinking (facilitative – ways of being.)  This is an exciting new concept to support our need for increased feedback as teachers engage in new learning and instructional practices.

Please ask an attendee for some feedback and if some of the terms above are new to you what they mean and how they will be used in your work.  I know that there are at least a couple of people that read this blog that might want to comment on their experience.  I’ll leave any personal judgment about the quality of the days out of this post to make it easier for an attendee to comment.  Please consider it as I believe your colleagues would be interested in your thinking.

1 comment:

Kimberly Fitzpatrick said...

Several ideas from the retreat really resonated with me as I begin my leadership journey this year. One in particular – Differentiated Learning, although not a novel concept, was presented in a way that encouraged interdependent thinking with a new lens, focused on meeting the diverse needs of our students, with a deeper understanding of how best to move forward with instructional practices that teach the “what” of key content. Differentiation, through a range of instructional and management strategies, affords us the opportunity to use checks for understanding, both planned and in the moment to inform instruction and respond to learner’s needs. I’m excited to share this new learning with my colleagues.

Another valuable tool I took away from the retreat was practicing the art of productive conversations, particularly as they relate to difficult subject matter. In order to reach consensus in any group, team members must be willing to suspend their judgments and opinions and be open to being influenced by others. Only then can we be deliberate about reaching our shared goals.