Opening up thinking about education today for tomorrow - Imagining possibilities and solutions

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

What difference can we make: Teachers innovating and building professional knowledge

I had the opportunity to present to a group of Primary Assistant Principals in the Southern region of Sydney. The presentation was essentially a repeat of a presentation I did as part of the seminar series at Australian Catholic University.
The group seemed to respond well to the concepts being put forward.
The significant ones for me seerm to be:
  • slow learning to go deep - not just for students but for teachers
  • teacher-led development work that provides a framework for teachers engaging in school improvement at the classroom level
  • Disciplined innovation that provides a scaffold for engaging in innovation
  • The focus in school review and improvement should be on improvement, not measuring.

At the heart for me is a desire that Teaching be seen to be The Learning Profession. Again this notion of courageous leadership and the courage to lead seem to be strong at the moment.

I am interested to see where the thinking and conversations develop and how. My goal in presenting is not so much to provide answers, but rather to open up and stimulate thinking.

More and more I am getting a sense of asking the questions about do we desire things to be like, what should things be like in education and what can I do about it? How can I contribute my expertise to achieving the desired outcomes of the profession?

There needs to be conversations about what is desirable and for whom.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Leading for Learning in a world that is flat

Today I presented a session to a group of principals on leading for learning. In providing a key note I hoped to open up thinking, conversations and possibilities. The notion of a flat world (as developed by Friedman) was drawn upon to highlight the lateral connectivity that exists in the world.
The presenation explored a new imaginary for schooling and education, networked learning, the need for disciplined innovation and possibilities for developing next practice. These were concepts that I developed as a result of my Churchill Fellowship.
As a result of the presentation and discussions there are a few thoughts that emerged:
  • there is a need for courageous leadership in schools and systems
  • focusing on what I have to do (compliance, regulations, etc.) limits the possibilities of what I could do to transform learning and schooling
  • networking is important for developing possibilities, ideas and ways forward that transcend the system
  • individual schools can move forward towards excellence/greatness more quickly than systems can.

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