A Learner's Journey

April 17, 2015
by mj0401mary
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Word for the term … curiosity

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My goal for term 2 in my work as a school advisor is to be curious about what I see, hear and read! To refrain from judgement and instead to ponder and wonder –

why might that be so? what thinking might sit behind this? how might we move forward from here? what might my role be here? why do I think that way? how might I find out more?

My experience as a teacher has taught me that people, communities and teams are complex and there are many reasons for why things are the way they are. There is much to be learnt by stepping off the judgement pedal and taking the time to pause and wonder, think and reflect instead. Will keep you posted on what this process reveals for me …

 

photo credit: What’s the point? via photopin (license)

April 16, 2014
by 34mk2012
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A Process for Change

One of the challenges in the subject Leading Educational Change is to come up with our own framework for the change process. We have read, reflected on and responded to many models of change presented to us and in the light of this, have been asked to come up with our own. So here is my attempt. I have tried to capture a couple of key things in this graphic (happy to have your feedback on whether I have been successful!); the importance of a shared vision for the change and the non-linear nature of change that requires lots of revisiting, reviewing, reflecting and adjusting.

The Change Process

 

I used www.gliffy.com to create this visual and found it very user friendly and easy to navigate.

Does this visual enhance your understanding of the change process? Would you change or refine it in any way?

April 16, 2014
by 34mk2012
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Leading for Change

Uni is well underway for the Semester and the learning has been relevant and engaging thus far. The subjects for this semester are Leading Educational Change and Perspectives in Leadership and both are very interconnected, really optimizing the learning for me. We have been considering what leading for change looks like and how as leaders, we can best enable change that is embedded and sustained. This clip by Pat Zigami was illuminating in considering the typical concerns that people have regarding change.

She summarises the key concerns as;

  1. INFORMATION – Tell me about this change? Why? What do we know about this?
  2. PERSONAL – What’s in it for me? How will this impact me? Can I succeed in this?
  3. IMPLEMENTATION – How will this really work? What happens if I need help?
  4. IMPACT – Will this change make any difference?
  5. COLLABORATION – How do we get everyone involved?
  6. REFINEMENT – How will we know we have succeeded? How will we evaluate this change?

It is very easy to view those who struggle with the notion of change simply as ‘blockers’ and ‘resistors’ rather than digging a little deeper to discern what the struggles are actually about. Pat states that concerns are usually questions and if we can anticipate them and respond to them rather than dismissing them, we are more likely to be successful with our change initiative.

This is a fresh perspective on working with  staff in seeking change – less judgement  and clear and direct communication may be a better way of involving all staff in the process of change.

What factors have enhanced your experience of change in schools?

October 27, 2013
by 34mk2012
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Leadership Intensive!

On 17/18th October, the Holy Spirit Community School Leadership Team had the privilege of going away together to the gorgeous RACV Club in Healesville for two days of professional learning together. This was a unique opportunity to spend quality time together, away from the constant distractions at school, to focus on how we work together and what it is we want to focus on energies on.

The first day was facilitated by Helen Goode who reminded us that it is only in knowing ourselves and how we work that we can reach out and work effectively with others. To this end, we completed the Myers Briggs Type Indicator to discover (or rediscover for several of us) what our preferred way of being is. Individually, this was interesting but our profile as a team was illuminating. We were able to see our similarities and differences and identify the strengths that we have as a team. It also enabled us to see where our soft spots as a team may be, and where we each may need to step up and operate out of our ‘less preferred’ modes. The discussion that ensued from this session was rich, collegial and very affirming in many ways. We also shared our personal challenges with one another; as Helen said, what is ‘in our boots’ that we often default to when unsure, nervous, threatened. This was also enlightening!

Friday we set about to define our purpose as a leadership team. This took some time and much reworking and the discussion arising out of this task was most worthwhile. What is our ‘core business?’ What should our focus be? What is worth attending to? We eventually came up with the following statement:

The purpose of the Leadership Team at Holy Spirit Community School is to build a strong culture of trust and empowerment within our community, enacting our shared vision to achieve the goals of the School Improvement Plan. Improved student outcomes are our core business. The key values of the Leadership Team are respect, openness, honesty and courage. The nurturing of relationships is central to our ability to achieve our purpose. 

This statement makes us accountable for both our time and our actions and as we now have a shared understanding of how each of us operate within the team through the MBTI, we also have a shared language. We fleshed out what each of our team values would look and sound like, which also promotes accountability as our goals and ideals are clear. 

We have a team ‘motto’ to act as a quick reminder about how we want to work:

“Backpacks off, eyes down, value add”

Backpacks refer to our individual leadership roles – we need to be able to look globally at what ever issue we are discussing and see it from multiple perspectives, not just literacy, or RE, or Well Being. 

Eyes down refers to imagining we are in a helicoptor, looking down at the big picture of our school community and its needs.

Value add – if we are not doing this as a team, what is the point??

Now the hard work begins – living out the ideals and goals we have set for ourselves. If we are able to do this, each of us will be better, more effective and empowering leaders and our team and school will be focused on the best possible outcomes for each of our students.

January 16, 2013
by 34mk2012
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The Wonder of ‘Wonder’

Over the holidays, I have read one of the novels assigned to my Year 8 son for this year, Wonder, written by R.J.Palacio. Firstly, what a great read! I read it in two days and thoroughly enjoyed it. The catchphrase on the cover piqued my interest … “You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out’. What a fantastic notion, one that has value for each of us as unique and gifted people.

Wonder would be a fabulous class read for Year 5 up and I am hoping to read it to my 5/6 class in term 1. It will slot in beautifully to our units on community and identity, raising lots of deep questions about both of these concepts. 

The book tells the story of August, a boy whose face is hugely disfigured. He has been home-schooled by his mum but as he reaches Year 5, his parents decide it is time for him to attend regular school. This is confronting for August, his sister, his classmates and teachers and the book details this experience from each of these perspectives beautifully and sensitively. 

One of the things I love about this book is the way one of August’s teachers, Mr Brown introduces the concept of precepts to his class. He tells them they are “rules about really important things” (p.46) and introduces a new one each month. The students are asked to reflect on how this precept relates to them by reflecting and writing. At the end of the year, students are asked to come up with their own precepts. I think this is a wonderful idea for helping students to explore some of the values we aspire to as human beings. One of my favourite precepts is “It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers” (James Thurler cited in Palacio, 2012, p.311) I am thinking of trying this idea in my own classroom this year to focus our attention on being the best people we can be, as well as the best learners. I look forward to seeing what the students come up with.

What is one of your precepts – “rules about really important things” – that helps guide you?

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/carbonnyc/3380611523/”>CarbonNYC</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>

 

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