For many of us, leadership in the past was done by “someone” who was seen to be in a place of authority. There were multiple ways to ensure compliance with what was being passed down from the top - indeed technology might have increased the ways - but we know have more ways to connect, collaborate, create, consider, and celebrate. Many of our past leadership models do not have a mechanism for a shared leadership. Instead, an “input or consulting” stage has been added but decision-making is still centred at the top of a hierarchal pyramid.
Leadership is important. There is no doubt that school leadership is essential for shifting what is happening in schools. Too often, leaders get ideas that, in principal seem great, but in practice don’t always flow well. In a society where efficiency and individualization are an obsession, leaders who can resist their hypnotic pull and realize that efficiency isn’t always effective and the individual needs to have a collective connection are ones who see themselves as part of growing success not leading success.
Leaderships in the current school model still is highly focused on ensuring that particular policies and process are implemented in order to document student growth. Although data is important, relationships are even more important in schools. Too often the visions and missions schools create are not grounded in where they are currently beginning with “What” and not “Why”.
Create an intense environment where ideas thrive. High expectations are important - helping people reach them is the role of leader. Holding people accountable is important but providing them the option to try new things and make mistakes is essential to improvement. People who are afraid to try will stop. We can give people room to meet the challenges ahead. Leaders who use questions to challenge others to see where things can go, challenge them to see things from different perspectives and allow them to try on different solutions create an atmosphere for growth.
Identifying areas of strength are important for leaders because it tells them what areas they need to find in the people who they surround themselves with. But if leaders don’t allow them to lead, then it doesn’t really do much good.
Schools lag further and further behind the pace of world change year-on-year and we need bold, aware, flexible leaders who know how to work with their community to collectively build a new culture of adapting to change to remain relevant. Richard Wells Much of what we know about creativity doesn’t transfer to schools where individualization, taking turns, being quiet and not challenging others ideas are hallmarks of being a successful student but these practices stifle creativity and limit what people will share with others. Carol Dweck’s discussion on Growth Mindset being not just about offering support and encouragement but also about asking questions and guiding students to seek different solutions is important.
When we begin discussing technology often the conversation immediately slides to “What device? Which apps? How will we implement? Will be have BYOD? Should I use Twitter?” but skips the all important “Why” - Why is it important for students to use technology? Why should we adopt digital skills in our classrooms? Why do teachers need to integrate technology into their teaching? - Asking why shifts our mindset from What or How - is it doable, what are the limitations, what do we need to do before we start, how do we afford this,…. to look at the foundational and pedagogical reasons that either support technology use or show another option that had been overlooked. It precludes “Can we do this” with “Why would we do this” .
Smya 2015 presentation
Leadership for Change
Leadership - Past Experience
• In the past, leadership was different - the lone leader
with charisma made decisions; a hierarchy of decision-
making with the leader at the top.
• It’s time to press ctl-alt-del on this type of leadership
Leadership - the Shift
• As new technologies and ways of connecting are
introduced, leadership can no longer be the lone leader
Leadership - the First
• Leadership is no longer about always being the lone
• It involves knowing when to lead and when to support
• It’s knowing when to be the First Follower
Leadership - Shifting and
• Shaping a culture of leaderships is one of the most
important roles of today’s current school leaders.
Leadership - Give people
space to lead
• We feel pressure when the stakes are high
and when we must perform at our best. We
feel stress when we have no control. Liz
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In
that space is our power to choose our response. In
our response lies our growth and our freedom.
Viktor E. Frankl
Leadership - Everyone has a
• Surrounding yourself with people who are different than
you is important. Letting them lead is essential.
Leadership - build a
Schools lag further and further behind the pace of world change year-on-year
and we need bold, aware, flexible leaders who know how to work with their
community to collectively build a new culture of adapting to change to remain
relevant. Richard Wells
Leadership - Challenge
others to make it better
“Innovation is not about solo genius but collective
genius.” Linda Hill
Leadership - Count on
• People perform at their best when they have natural
responsibility and know someone is counting on them.
Leadership - Going Digital
• Having access to all sorts of digital devices and
options can be overwhelming. “What and How”
dominate when, to begin, focus on “Why”?
Leadership - Why Digital
• Changing how learning happens.
Leadership - developing
Steve Gruenert & Todd Whitaker
Leadership - Why Integrate?
• Why integrate technology? Develop their body of work
Leadership - Why Integrate?
• Why integrate technology? What and How ignore the
pedagogical discussion of Why.
My beef with the popular tool (Kahoot) is a simple
one: While Kahoot argues that it is "Making Learning
Awesome", it really IS a tool that is best suited for
nothing more than facilitating the review of basic
concepts. It's a flashy way to get kids to answer
MORE fact-driven multiple choice questions.
Leadership - Why Integrate
• Leadership - helping others to connect with WHY.