Tag Archives: Networks

Technology

12 May

critical-thinking-cartoon-11

The digital era – the computer, the network, the Internet, the Web, social technology, universal search, and so much more – changes radically all of the relationships that are critical to how we learn and how we teach: the relationship between teacher and learner; the relationship between the learner and information; the relationship we all have with the concept of learned authority; and the social relationships between ourselves and the rest of the human race. It is of course a hugely complex process of determination, with nuance layered on nuance, but it is undoubtedly true that broad global shifts in technology, such as that between print and digital, determine how learning can happen and therefore should (and inevitably will) determine what it means to teach.

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Going Back

10 Nov

My NAPP experience is drawing to a close and next week my presentation will be the subject of my blog. At the same time I am reflecting on the end of my third year as Deputy Principal and a year of our ERO review. The following some notes in the best traditions of Marty McFly advice I would give myself if I could go back to the future.

Have a plan to drive the overall strategy for your team and its role achieving the school’s vision. Set annual goals within this plan. Focus on the process not necessarily the final result. Focus on what you know you need to solve the problem. You can’t get help if you can’t define what you’re looking for. Frame the situation: What is it you either don’t know or need to know more of? Start by defining the challenge you’re facing and what you need in order to solve it. Great leaders don’t have all the answers, but they usually have the ability to ask better questions. Staff will enjoy be included in solving the problems and setting goals.

Do Something. Sometimes a response requires doing something, even if you know it isn’t the perfect solution. By leaving the problem it can often grow.

Every year make room for new approaches. Assess the school, like a warrant of fitness, for what it needs to do, and making changes. We should not do it just because we are being reviewed by ERO.

Always try improving communication and relationships inside and outside the school. Internally everybody should feel included in making key decisions. I read somewhere this year tuning into everyone ensures that there is alignment of all.

Creating systems and frameworks to execute, track, and measuring the work so that you feel comfortable with. Review these systems. These will never be perfect. Be open, but remember you can’t possibly take every suggestion on board.

Inquire more deeply to truly unearth important ideas. When you improve the quality and quantity of questions you ask, you increase the potentially valuable information you receive.

Support staff members in becoming better leaders themselves by promoting continuous learning. I am a great believer in the philosophy of growing other leaders. A school is a place of learning and therefore we should all be learners.

Reflections of a Deputy Principal

30 Sep

Leadership, Principal, Connections, Staff, Students, Networks

Earlier on in the year I had the opportunity to be Acting Principal. I recognised the opportunity for a reflection but I wanted to give it time after the fact to see reflect further on what I learnt. What have I learnt then?

Kiwi Leadership for Principals (2008) was a solid guide for me. It suggested “New Zealand principals respond positively to the challenges of a devolved system, working out ways to serve the best interests of their schools, teachers and students. It made me recognised that we are together a “Professional Learning Network.” (pp10)

So the following bullet points are my reflections:

• My wife is awesome

• Surround yourself with competent leaders.

• Your PA is your best friend

• Say thanks

• Malcom Gladwell was right. You need strengths. Mine was the ability to deal with special character issues and in my experience they come up daily.

• Stay connected to students

• Do not do everything.

• Leading change and problem solving are not easy

• My immediate response may not be my best.

• Relax and find time to switch off.

• Keep learning.

• Acknowledge I will make a few mistakes.

• Stay connected to staff

• There is always tomorrow.

• If you are given an opportunity to act as Principal take it. Realize though sometimes the “ride” can be rough.

• Keep reading.

• People do not want you to fail. .

I became aware that in a kiwi context the educational leader leads learning to:

• improve outcomes for all students, with a particular focus on Māori and Pasifika;

• create the conditions for effective teaching and learning;

• develop and maintain schools as learning organisations;

• make connections and build networks within and beyond their schools; develop others as leaders. Develop leaders from your own tree.

One of the most important yet challenging and I think most satisfying aspect of being on the SLT is making connections which leads others to make connections or sees possibilities and opportunities that were once never a possibility but are now are realities.

I thoroughly appreciated and relished this experience and I am sure I will reflect again.

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