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Empowering educators through clarity, coherence and narrative


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This is a presentation given to the 'Pathway to the principalship' program co-ordinated by The Brown Collective for Sydney Catholic Schools. It builds on a recent chapter in the Flip the System Australia book.

Published in: Education
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Empowering educators through clarity, coherence and narrative

  1. 1. A/Prof Scott Eacott Empowering educators through clarity, coherence and narrative
  2. 2. Not all slides will be posted from this presentation. Slides have been removed where they contain unpublished data and/or personal photos.
  3. 3. Slide removed here.
  4. 4. Flip the system Educating is political. Decisions regarding what is taught, how it is taught, and how students are assessed reflect a version of what makes an effective school. … However, while what is judged as an effective education is contested by many in society, do we as educators actively engage in this contestation? Eacott, S. (2019). Empowering educators through flipped school leadership? In D. Netolicky, J. Andrews & C. Paterson (Eds.) Flip the system Australia: What matters in education (pp. 189-197). New York, NY: Routledge.
  5. 5. My proposal A call for school leadership based on a broad principle that recognises there is no one size fits all approach to education, an embracing of professionalism in the justification of practices, and flipping the criteria for effectiveness to educators and not those outside of schools.
  6. 6. Translating theory into practice The relational approach Practice RE1: We are unconsciously complicit with the world as it is Clarity RE2: As a result, we need to problematise our language RE3: The contemporary conditions are shaped by and shaping of our image of organising Coherence RE4: We need to go beyond analytical dualism Narrative RE5: A generative rather than merely critical theorising
  7. 7. Many debates about the effectiveness of schools and/educators come down to differences in the purpose/s of schooling. In the absence of an explicitly identified purpose means that others will assume a purpose and make judgements based on that. To this end, the first step towards effectiveness is having clarity of purpose and being able to articulate that purpose. This means that you generate the conditions / criteria in which you are assessed. It also means that others may be pursuing different purposes to you. Effectiveness begins with clarity
  8. 8. Amy, a principal We are a really good school. We are effective. We say we will educate the kids in a holistic manner, and that is what we do. Although we are answerable to our political masters, at the same time you have to be true to yourself and enact what we see as a good education. Eacott, S. (2013). Asking questions of leadership: using social theory for more than critique. Leading & Managing, 19(1), 18-31.
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  10. 10. Explicitly articulating the purpose of education provides the basis from which to judge performance. That is, with clarity comes judgement based on the coherence of your activity against that purpose. Importantly, this becomes not about right / wrong and instead whether the activities of the school, faculty, or teacher are consistent with the articulated purpose/s. You are judged in relation to coherence
  11. 11. Generating coherence MessageLearningTeaching SupervisionMeetingsRecruitment
  12. 12. Having established the purpose/s for which you are working towards and demonstrating coherence (or at least naming the criteria by which you wish to be judged) you generate the narrative for your school. This narrative need not be the same as other schools. It is not about consensus but crafting unique stories about the work of educators. You generate the narrative for your school
  13. 13. Your school, your story
  14. 14. Effectiveness begins with clarity You are judged in relation to coherence You generate the narrative for your school Key message
  15. 15. A/Prof Scott Eacott School of Education E: W: T: @ScottEacott