Tag Archives: Change

Motivating Colleagues

12 Jan

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I set myself the challenge of motivating colleagues to embrace change just when things look pretty good, it is a theory that I understand a number of sporting teams use. I read somewhere the “The paradox of success, that what got you where you are, won’t keep you where you are, is a hard lesson to learn.”

I have been trying to express the case for all of us to improve our teaching. Jonah Lehrer says in his book Imagine, the answer to any problem is incredibly obvious…we curse ourselves for not seeing it sooner. It’s for my colleagues, but it could be for any school, anywhere.

John Wooden of the UCLA Bruins who says: Perform at your best when your best is required. Your best is required every day.

This also makes me think of Pete Carroll’s philosophy “Always Compete.” To Carroll, competition doesn’t really mean beating an opponent or a teammate. Instead, competition, to Carroll, involves the constant (the “always” part of the expression) pursuit, characterized by scrapping and clawing, to get better and eventually to reach one’s highest potential. As teachers or even people this philosophy is brilliant.

If we are honest, we have always known that only at least good teaching is good enough for our students.

I take it as a given that every single one of us wants to become a better teacher; indeed, to become a truly great school we will all need to become better teachers, every single one of us. I am not asking us to work harder in terms of volume of work, but to work harder at becoming better at what we do in the classroom. I am asking every single one of us to be at least a good teacher and the majority of us to be great teachers.

The other barrier to colleagues opening themselves up to improving their practice is accountability, but as professionals accountability is something we have to accept – as long as we know what is expected then we can eradicate the fear inherent in any accountability system. I want to work in a no-surprises culture. I want to catch colleagues doing good things and praise them, not catch them out.

All SLT should have the same thing in mind as we start the new academic year. Do you?

Leading Change

28 Nov

Impact

“Change is neither good nor bad. It simply is.”  Don Draper

This week at our DP/AP meeting Greg Kirk from Goggles On presented on Leading Change. It got me thinking. Some of my thoughts were the following.

You can’t manage change. You try to anticipate it and then adapt to it. That’s the core competency that each of us needs to develop and continually strengthen. At a collective level, it makes an organization that much stronger to adapt to whitewater events which can capsize the unprepared.

Management guru John Kotter provides a very useful model for leading change efforts. His eight step process, which has been adopted by many organizations and leadership practitioners, encompasses the following steps:

1) Establishing a sense of urgency
2) Creating the guiding coalition
3) Developing a change vision
4) Communicating the vision for buy-in
5) Empowering broad-based action
6) Generating short-term wins
7) Never letting up
8) Incorporating changes into the culture

At the core of Kotter’s model is building change adaptability within an organization and learning how to focus the energy of employees towards a shared vision.

Change leadership evokes the critical importance of humbleness as a leader. You need to adapt. Ask the question why.

 

 

Positive Learning Environments: Part Two

23 Sep

constructivist

I suppose the key to these is the key competencies of our national curriculum and ensuring we are getting it right in the classroom.

  1. Focus a good deal of your teaching on “learning how to learn” skill development. Read up on how to teach study skills, learning to learn skills, research skills, inquiry skills. Make sure that your students grow both in terms of content they learn and the “learning to learn” skills they need to develop in order to learn well in the future.
  2. Make “asking questions” central to your teaching and to your learning environment and school culture.
  3. Give students more choices and options – in the classroom.
  4. Use inquiry strategies, research skill building activities, interactive learning and projects as critical parts of teaching. Incorporate more interest based projects into your curriculum.
  5. Where possible, make learning experiences more “authentic”. Ask “how does this relate?” How can you provide students with a concrete understanding of their future options? Can you take field trips to different places of business? Colleges and universities? Bring in speakers?
  6. Create more ways to integrate learning across the curriculum and consider ways to redesign the curriculum. When redesigning or renewing the curriculum, examine whether curriculum materials or programs have a significant component built around developing curiosity, motivation, relevance and interest.

There is little doubt there are lots of challenges here but it up to us as teachers to challenge ourselves to create authentic learning environments.

Video

Video of the Week and Wise Words

8 Sep

My best advice (after 34 years of teaching)

Wise Words

Don’t Overpromise on Your New Job

I am finding these particular tips particularly useful at present. Each week there seems to be ideas which are challenging me to read further. This week it looked at new positions. When taking on a new role, it can be tempting to list out all of the grand things you plan to accomplish in your first year. But be careful before you make any hard commitments. It’s better to under promise and over deliver. You don’t know what unforeseen obstacles may get in your way—the organization’s resistance to change, for example. Be conservative when setting expectations with your new boss and other stakeholders. If you deliver more results, you will delight them. But if you promise too much and fall short, you risk undermining your credibility. Even if you successfully complete a great number of projects, but don’t do everything on your list, you will have failed in their eyes. This idea of the first 90 days was one that is common in interview situations.

Adapted from The First 90 Days, Updated and Expanded.

 

Fear and Pain

27 Apr

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Crazy as it may seem, this week I had time to reflect on two issues. Fear and pain motivate you to stop, run, avoid, or stubbornly dig in. They don’t move you forward. As a leader this is important to consider.

Fear and pain may ignite a passion to change. No doubt the All Blacks had a great deal of this going into the 2011 RWC. Manchester United had a great deal of pain after being beaten on the last day of the season by their City rivals for the EPL title. The problem, fear and pain only works for the short-term. It creates a huddling effect but doesn’t create a future. These sports teams could tell you that.

Fear and pain are good if they drive you towards two greater things. Courage and joy is the point I have found. What I’m learning then is:

  1. Fear comes with us when we move forward, accept it.
  2. Faith answers but doesn’t eliminate fear. I’m learning to trust others. Empower others I suppose.
  3. Conversations change me. I’m fortunate to have conversations with some of clever kind people; their stories, experiences, and wisdom inspire me.
  4. Sharing my inner-most thoughts took time. However, the more I do the easier it gets.
  5. My journey makes some uncomfortable. Because it does.
  6. I can’t please everybody because decisions based on other people’s values and opinions are not positive.
  7. Exploring and understanding others opens the door for me to explore, understand and communicate with myself.
  8. Doing what’s best for others isn’t people pleasing as long as it aligns with my values.

What have you learned about yourself this year that has made a change?

Professional Reading

Leading inquiry at a teacher level: It’s all about mentorship by Mike Fowler

Click below to go to the article.

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