Beginning Principals Explore Democratic Leadership<br />Beginning Principals Explore Democratic Leadership<br />Heather E ...
Purposes of this Presentation<br />To share the content and process of an online master’s course “Leadership for Democrati...
Democratic and Ethical Leadership  <br />Course Content<br />Course Process<br />Threaded discussions<br />Readings, onlin...
Participants’ Reflections<br />Participants’ reflections on educators’ attitudes<br />towards <br />Students<br />Minoriti...
What is Democracy<br />Democracy is something we all think we understand, but find it difficult to articulate our understa...
Self-knowledge<br />“To lead our schools democratically, we need first of all to know ourselves. What we see through our e...
Educators’ Attitudes to Students<br />My &quot;aha&quot; came when I read the part about the teachers succumbing to the no...
Educators’ Attitudes Towards Students <br />We need to focus on what we CAN do.  How many of you have heard teachers say “...
Minorities<br />One of the invisible minorities in our small town community is sexual orientation, where many people are n...
Minorities<br />The minority population in my school encompasses students from lower socio-economic households.  I can pic...
Student voice<br />Allowing the students to have a voice in a school will be a big adjustment for many of the staff member...
Disempowered voices<br />It is interesting to think about the idea of educators disempowering silent voices. The mother wh...
Parents<br />We often talk about student disenfranchisement, but parents also lose hope and confidence and faith in school...
Creating a Democratic Environment<br />It will take dedication and hard work to involve parents, students, staff and commu...
Democratic Leaders<br />Democratic leaders are confident in what they know, yet understand that they don&apos;t know it al...
Key Elements for Leadership of Democratic Schools: Democratic Leaders<br />Recognize students come first<br />Know all can...
Participants’ Learning<br />I have had to really reflect on my own teaching practices and ask myself, &quot;Am I doing the...
Main issues democratic leaders need to address in Wyoming <br />Student Voice<br />Diversity Issues<br />Sexuality<br />Ge...
So What is Democracy?<br />Democracy is something that we believe in, and more importantly, in which we actively participa...
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Beginning Principals Explore Democratic Leadership

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Presentation to the National Network of Educational Renewal Conference, Oct 2009, Seattle

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Beginning Principals Explore Democratic Leadership

  1. 1. Beginning Principals Explore Democratic Leadership<br />Beginning Principals Explore Democratic Leadership<br />Heather E Duncan<br />University of Wyoming<br />hduncan@uwyo.edu<br />
  2. 2. Purposes of this Presentation<br />To share the content and process of an online master’s course “Leadership for Democratic Schools”<br />To highlight prospective school leaders’ reflections and questions on democratic practices in schools<br />To identify what democratic leaders do<br />
  3. 3. Democratic and Ethical Leadership  <br />Course Content<br />Course Process<br />Threaded discussions<br />Readings, online video and audio clips<br />Case studies<br />Group assignment<br />Self-reflection<br />Pedagogic creed “I believe”<br />What is democratic leadership?<br />Stereotypes and Self knowledge<br />Ethical decision-making<br />Leadership for diversity: Race/ethnicity; gender; disability; poverty     <br />Democratic environment: student voice; parent/community<br />
  4. 4. Participants’ Reflections<br />Participants’ reflections on educators’ attitudes<br />towards <br />Students<br />Minorities <br />Student voice<br />Disempowered voices<br />Parents<br />Participant’s reflections on democratic leadership and on their own learning<br />
  5. 5. What is Democracy<br />Democracy is something we all think we understand, but find it difficult to articulate our understanding in words. <br />
  6. 6.
  7. 7. Self-knowledge<br />“To lead our schools democratically, we need first of all to know ourselves. What we see through our eyes and hear through our ears, is filtered through our beliefs” (Delpit, 1995). <br />Delpit, L. (1995). Other people&apos;s children: Cultural conflict in the classroom. New York: New Press. <br />
  8. 8. Educators’ Attitudes to Students<br />My &quot;aha&quot; came when I read the part about the teachers succumbing to the notion that pupils were incapable rather than disengaged. It appeared as though the teachers had stopped growing and had began blaming. No one appeared to be a part of a school community. I understand how difficult it is to work so hard and feel like you are swimming upstream.  I believe that when you begin to blame the students or parents and are unable to look first at yourself then it is time for a change.<br />
  9. 9. Educators’ Attitudes Towards Students <br />We need to focus on what we CAN do.  How many of you have heard teachers say “that student is going to struggle because he or she has a terrible home life?”  I know I have… and I have also said it.  I need to start focusing on what I can DO.  We cannot control what happens out side of the school, but we can control what’s inside of the school, positive or negative.<br />
  10. 10. Minorities<br />One of the invisible minorities in our small town community is sexual orientation, where many people are not open to different sexual orientations. <br />How do we confront that situation?  As educational leaders do we educate our students and staff and hope it rubs off on the community or do we try to educate the community as well?<br /> We have absolutely been taught to respect other&apos;s differences, but not to discuss our own biases and prejudices. Many wouldn&apos;t even know how to identify their prejudices.  As a new principal, how do you even start these conversations?<br />
  11. 11. Minorities<br />The minority population in my school encompasses students from lower socio-economic households.  I can pick these children out with ease.  They are not included in outside activities such as birthday parties and play dates.  Because the parents don’t include these kids, their children don’t interact with them in or outside of school. <br />I was bothered when I considered the three factors that have a major effect on students&apos; motivation and performance:  <br />sense of belonging<br />trust in people around them <br />and belief that teachers value their intellectual competence. <br />If I am aware of the students who are not fully accepted as part of the school community, then they, too, are aware and do not have the sense of belonging or trust. I see a real need to examine how we can bridge these gaps. <br />
  12. 12. Student voice<br />Allowing the students to have a voice in a school will be a big adjustment for many of the staff members, but the staff needs to realize that we are here for the students and their voices need to be heard. <br />The one item missing [in school conversations] is the students.  It is scary for adults to turn this power over to students, but if you really want their input, you have to listen and then give them a chance to try out their ideas.  In the end it really is about them, not us.<br />Asking young people to provide feedback and then not acting on it sends a strong message of lack of respect… If you are going to ask, you have to be willing to accept what comes and act on it.<br />It is somewhat ironic that we, as teachers, want to empower our students to think and act more like adults, take part in their educational process, and then when they do, we fear their responses<br />
  13. 13. Disempowered voices<br />It is interesting to think about the idea of educators disempowering silent voices. The mother who walks through the door the first day of kindergarten with her other toddlers screaming typically will get an “eye-roll” from those passing in the hall. In that one moment, that mother will probably become a silent voice. I think we have to be so careful in our presentation of who we are when the community or parents walk into our buildings. First impressions are usually the longest lasting. <br />
  14. 14. Parents<br />We often talk about student disenfranchisement, but parents also lose hope and confidence and faith in schools.  They don&apos;t usually critique the school and they probably feel we try our best and do a good job, but overall they don&apos;t want to participate any more and feel their role ends with dropping their kid off at the door. These are the parents that we need to target and eventually engage. <br />
  15. 15. Creating a Democratic Environment<br />It will take dedication and hard work to involve parents, students, staff and community members to create a system in a school where everyone has a voice and is comfortable with it. <br />When you have that trust, you can tackle the tough items that inevitably will come up. <br />
  16. 16. Democratic Leaders<br />Democratic leaders are confident in what they know, yet understand that they don&apos;t know it all.  They are not defensive when discussing issues and are able to listen and be informed by others’ opinions and knowledge.  They build in the people around them a sense of collective confidence and achievement.  They understand themselves to be a part of a larger community.<br />
  17. 17. Key Elements for Leadership of Democratic Schools: Democratic Leaders<br />Recognize students come first<br />Know all can learn<br />Listen to all voices<br />Communicate openly and honestly<br />Engage all stakeholders<br />Create a safe, trusting, and respectful environment<br />Dig below the surface<br />Ask challenging questions<br />Know the community<br />Invite participation<br />Build collective confidence in achievement<br />Make ethical decisions<br />
  18. 18. Participants’ Learning<br />I have had to really reflect on my own teaching practices and ask myself, &quot;Am I doing the best I can?&quot;, &quot;Am I doing the best for the kids, for the parents, for the community?&quot;. Sometimes, the answer has been no and that is where I have seen the most growth for myself in this course. <br />
  19. 19. Main issues democratic leaders need to address in Wyoming <br />Student Voice<br />Diversity Issues<br />Sexuality<br />Gender (Duncan & Stock, 2009)<br />SES<br />Community Involvement<br />Parent Involvement<br />
  20. 20. So What is Democracy?<br />Democracy is something that we believe in, and more importantly, in which we actively participate (Osler & Starkey, 2006). <br />Democracy is a jar full of buttons, all colors, shapes, and sizes, each one searching for the shirt to which it shall be sewn (Nicole Rapp, course student, summer, 2009) <br />Osler, A. & Starkey, H. (2006). Education for democratic citizenship: A review of research, policy and practice 1995-2005. Research Papers in Education, 21(4), 433-466. <br />

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