“A teacher who understands the conditions that make people want to learn – want to read, to write, and do sums – is in a position to turn these activities into flow experiences. When the experience becomes intrinsically rewarding, students’ motivation is engaged, and they are on their way to a lifetime of self-propelled acquisition of knowledge.” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
I recently spent a day in a workshop examining leadership and governance and the associated communication required to keep a team invested, knowledgeable and connected.
During the day I was impressed by the level of discussion and surprised at times with the discovery of solutions through collaborative processes. Through our work I was reminded:
• Developing and sustaining a community of learners is continuous, and rewarding work
• We should remember to review and renew our community and its processes for newer members
• Educational communities have a history and should continually evolve and co-create knowledge
• Never forget the power of appreciative inquiry
• 90% of accountability is affirmation
These were valuable reminders for leaders charged with helping develop a high achieving school system. Luckily, in my position I get to see manifestations of each on a daily basis. While they do not form a framework for leadership they do form part of the orientation our school system has accepted as part of its development going forward.
Following our workshop, I was motivated to review lessons learned by others involved in systemic organization and growth. McGuinty (2012) reminds us:
Lesson 1. The drive to make progress in our schools can’t be a fad
Lesson 2. Education reform is not important to your government unless it’s important to the head of your government – personally
Lesson 3. You won’t get results unless teachers are onside
Lesson 4. To succeed you need to build capacity
Lesson 5. Settle on a few priorities and pursue them relentlessly
Lesson 6. Once you start making progress, you’ve got permission to invest more
Lesson 7. You’re never done
Lesson 8. The best way to sustain your effort to improve schools is to keep it personal
While McGuinty doesn’t propose a framework, his lessons do provide guidance to our collaborative actions.
If we continue to learn and build on the appropriate ideas of others and connect people’s hearts to the work we do we will continue to develop collaboratively a system built on a “Dream”.
“The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates