How do we communicate something so abstract? After all, the American public can’t stand to debate about healthcare for 9 months and will switch political parties every 2 years if necessary to make a buck. Howard Gardner in Leading Minds speaks about leading the general public masses – he says one must be able to communicate with and persuade an audience with the education level of 5 year olds… Abstract to 5 year olds… Oh my. That’s a tough calling - but reality is the public bites on simple messages as demonstrated by so many of our politicians. We can’t balance the national budget because the public can’t swallow the complexity of truth and the sacrifices necessary to do it. So… 21 st century leadership requires real leaders able to sell truth through simple communications about complicated issues. We must continuously put the current realities and changes into the biggest picture possible. 21 st century leaders must be able to explain solid, research based, sound rationale for every single decision made. The gut isn’t good enough anymore. Experience doesn’t matters little today – except when trying to sell votes. Sound judgment based upon real information and absolute integrity, honesty, and transparency are key – along with selling the message. The 21 st century will tear apart leaders that can’t walk their talk as accountability is much more ruthless in this environment. So… how have I been exercising 21 st century leadership skills and how has it worked? Let’s get practical. First – I am no expert. I’m in year 10 in admin and year 4 as principal. I’ve been lucky to be in the right place at the right time and have had some successes that I feel good about. Of course, setbacks come with the deal – and I’ve had those. This next part is not an attempt to put jewels in my crown. My goal here is to get practical about 21 st century leadership and to share pieces of my story that might help you in your own schools.
Toffler writes in The Third Wave: - Covert curriculum or Hidden Code of industrialization – or wave II = Standardization – think tests, pay scales, grading, benefits, IQ tests born, mass media Specialization – think Henry Ford creating 7,882 different jobs for the assembly line Synchronization – think move to beat of machine, punctuality, clocks, time = $ Concentration – think cities are formed, nursing homes, schools, prisons, asylums, birth of corporations Maximization – think infatuation with size & growth at the cost of ecological, environmental, and social disaster Centralization – think chain of command, law and order, Art. Of Confederation replaced by Constitution, centralized planning for corporations We are now possibly past wave III… Open source programming – think i-phone apps Level playing field to whole world – anyone with a connection can earn an audience Niche and persuasion is power – think moving the masses Transparency – think Iran protests on Twitter Building an alliance – or an audience – as the key 21 st century skill… How do we teach students to do that? Communication skills is absolutely fundamental.
Speak to importance of having a common language through which to talk about adult behaviors that do or don’t demonstrate good discipline: Disciplined People – Disciplined Thought – Disciplined Action If you don’t have a framework, then it’s just your opinion or your ego. By building this common understanding of what greatness is, then I, the leader, become the mirror instead of the king barking orders. I become the teacher. Plant seeds, distribute to leadership team and department chairs, teach PGOs, leadership team work sessions focused on leadership development… Can’t expect staff to be leaders if haven’t developed a framework and common language for talking about leadership (just like can’t expect kids to work in groups unless there are protocols and structure in place first). Year 1 – transition, Year 2 & 3 – build leadership capacity, Year 4 – launch PLCs, online blog and Ning site,
BLT work sessions Coffee chats All meetings now PD Buying books, subscriptions, and distributing articles Requiring article reads for meeting discussions Publicly calling for rigorous debate Huge focus on leadership training
This is more than student perception surveys. This is teachers lounge talk. Do teachers pick up the trash in the hallway or walk past it? Do staff pitch in and do things that are not their job – because it is right? You will never get students to do what is right if the staff isn’t modeling this first.
Real debate about grading, what special education services are supposed to be, why we have some rules and procedures, and answers determined by what is right rather than who is the squeaky wheel. Online Social Network My blog Dashboard tool Coming soon – podcasted student interviews posted on social network to capture the narrative – and to instigate rigorous dialogue.
Teaching & leading adults is really the same as being a good teacher. This isn’t rocket science – KISS Authenticity is key
21 st Century Leadership Chris Lindholm [email_address]
Clear objectives referred to throughout the lesson meeting
Measure/assess every step
Establish a culture for learning and high expectations
Student engagement is crucial
Use 21 st Century technologies
It’s simply walking our talk…
Web 2.0 in a box… Building curiosity by building meaning… LeaderCamp = June 24 th 2010
Real Debates on Tech… Standardization vs. Innovation
Training leadership, support staff, teachers, etc…
Exposure to liability vs. addressing individuals
Supporting multiple platforms and the constant change of Web 2.0 (vendors and products are out by the time we get them up and running!!)
Cost, cost, cost
False assumption that we need to give every child the same education
Does it really help us teach better and improve student performance?
19 th century… 21 st century…
Faculty Social Network on Ning with Podcasts of student interviews on hot topics “ Principal Thoughts” blog targeting teacher development. What “the boss” thinks is right out there for discussion… Transparency!!