In both the leadership sessions and visiting classrooms in another district it reinforced for me the complexity of the work. Something that sounds simple such as posting and using a learning goal to guide instruction is in fact far from simple. We and other systems are creating documents and developing support structures that capture the essence of the work, but transferring the learning to all classrooms is proving more elusive.
My sense is that the keys to finding the structures to accomplish this transition are to be found in this mix of leadership and management. It is not an issue of versus because we know that both are necessary. Somewhere in that adult learning cycle of learn, observe, practice, receive feedback, reflect, evaluate is the leverage for large gains in a short period. We need managers to support those that are still struggling with the question of how to do it and we need leaders to create experiences for those that do not see the need for the change.
Those of us in position to support others in this work need to keep in mind the need for both. Those that are working to make the instructional changes can support this by providing feedback, sharing stories, and engaging in this complex work. I like the quotes from Kotter that McCarthy places in his list of 10. We need both to be successful with our Classroom 10 goal. They reinforce the importance of collaboration and shared responsibility as we search for new structures to influence and support our colleagues.
*Managers plan and budget, organize and staff, control and solve problems, and produce predictability and order.
*Leaders establish direction, align people, motivate, inspire, and mentor, and produce change.
*Source: from John Kotter’s What Leaders Really Do, Harvard Business Review.