Today I had the great privilege of participating in a set of workshops like I have never participated in before. I am in Wellington for the annual Association of Integrated Schools' (@aisNZ) conference. This would be about my 6th time at this conference and whilst they have aways been good and I have always come home having learnt something new, it has always been a very passive experience, I sit while someone stands at the front of the room and tells us all the things we should know...BUT NOT TODAY!
For a hundred years or more schools looked and operated more or less the same. There are multiple classrooms, in each classroom is a teacher and with each teacher there is 15-35 students. The teacher has been the fount of all knowledge and the sole dictator of time and schedule, while the student sits passively absorbing knowledge through the copying and completion of tasks into some form of workbook.
Throughout the industrial age, students were being prepared for jobs on a process line or in a cubical. The culture of no talking and listen to me in classrooms was evenly matched by the no talking and do as I say culture of the workplace.
There are so many virtues that make us who we are, they are all important parts of our story. And, the strength of each of our virtues, determine the most important aspect of leadership, who will follow us, and how far.
Recently the importance of integrity as a leader, in everything we do, has been driven home to me by some people I have met. I am the first to admit that nobody is perfect and that we can all make mistakes, but the mistakes we make can cost us. I started to work with someone a while ago and in the first projects we worked together in we saw eye to eye all the way. Suddenly, a new project (very similar to the first) and he became a new person. Things that made complete sense suddenly became vague and decisions were made that simply did not make sense.
Just on a month ago we welcomed in to the world our fantastic new baby girl Faith. Her mum, dad (me) and her three big brothers could not be prouder. But as you will see, I learnt a few things about leadership along the way.
Let's step away from the baby and consider the process of introducing a new idea of vision to your people or organisation. It can be tough! First of all you need to sell the idea in such a way that people 'own' it, or better still think it was their idea in the first place. When it involves change management, sometimes you push....push.....push....until the new idea or vision is birthed and people finally come onboard.
It is simply unbelievable how many educators think the best (and often the only) way for shifting pedagogical practice from 'here' to 'there', from what we are doing in the class today, to a place where we need to be tomorrow in order engage, inspire and motivate our students, is to 'call in the experts. To send individuals out to a place where someone tells our teachers what they should be doing and where we get a free lunch and a free pen! This crazy practise of education is only seconded by teachers who still think they are the ONLY source knowledge in the class, the type of teacher who likes the sound of their voice because it gives them comfort!