Saturday, July 29, 2006

Andy Hargreaves Sustainable Leadership

Last night I went to see "An Inconvenient Truth" - Al Gore's movie on global warming. The message is clear and straightforward - we all have to contribute to the solution. But there is a solution. We have to move from a "me" society to a "we " society. Until we see that our actions and those of others have effects far beyond our immediate vicinity, we will not change. Andy Hargreaves also talked about social responsibility - how a sustainable school is one which is in harmony with its surroundings. Magnet schools, private schools, etc. afffect not only those who attend them but also those who don't . We have to start working together for change.

Notes from the session:
Professor at Boston College
His powerpoint is available at his site. He did not show most of the Powerpoint but it is an excellent reference.

Andy Hargreaves is a passionate and eloquent speaker.

Links between professional learning communities
moving into the age of post-standardization
Spenser Foundation -- looking at 8 secondary schools in Canada and US - looking at change - followed over 30 years

work in UK - has left behind the age of standardization (as have most of Canada, Australia, Singapore and even Japan)
building on positive peer pressure rather than fear and compliance
America is conlonizing the model that most English-speaking nations are leaving behind
have to equip ourselves as educators
how do you lose your integrity? how do you lose your moral way?
Ian McKuen - The Innocent - character makes tiny shifts step--by-step, each of which make sense in relationship to the last one but the whole do not make sense and he finds himself way over his head. He lost his moral core - not by big dramatic moments, but by small adjestments and suddenly finds himself in a place he should not be. We have to be sure this does not happen to us, that we do not lose our integrity.

What is unsustainable - American policy
What is sustainablity? not only whether it can last but also without compromising the development of others in the surrounding environment, now and in the future. (also about social justice)

What is the oppositie? unsustainability?
imposed short-term targets
In the UK, targets in literacy and numberacy failed miserable (National Literacy Standards). What improvements there were were due to test items being made easier.

What does a sustainable company look like -
  • Put purpose before profit
  • Start slowly, advance persistently
  • Do not depend on a single, visionary leader

In US - what is happening?

focusing on reading and math at expense of the arts and other "frills"
focusing on the 20% just below passing to make test scores look better
rates of literacy go up but rates of reading for pleasure go down

Schools are becoming the Enron of education

What is sustainable leadership?
- 7 principles
1) Depth (it matters)

Learning leads to Achievement leads to testing
NOT data driven instruction Testing leads to achievement leads to learning
We need evidence informed practice. The first year things may get worse but in the 2nd year it starts to get better and continues to.

2) Endurance (it lasts)

Sustainable leadership - few things succeed less than leadership succession. - your best legacy is in principles, practices and people
All school improvement plans should have succession plans - where the school is, where it is going, what kind of leadership it needs
- professional learning communities
from slide - Professional learning communities

Transform knowledge
Shared enquiry
Evidence informed
Situated certainty

3) Breadth (it spreads)

distributed and shared leadership
veteran dominated leadership is exclusionary - does not give space to young
novice dominated leadership - driven by enthusiasm rather than expertise - leads to burnout
Best culture is a blend of older and younger
provides mentoring
reciprocal learning

4) Justice (it does not harm the surrounding environment)

5)Diversity (it promotes diversity and conhesion)

respond to changes - in the environment
network schools together
peer support and positive peer pressure

You learn more from people who are different from you, than ones who are the same

6) Resourcefulness (it conserves expenditure)

7) Conservation (it honours the past in creating the future)

From the Powerpoint:
Leaders of sustaining learning:
  • Passionately advocate and defend deep learning for all students
  • Combine and commit to old and new basics
  • Put learning, before achievement, before testing
  • Make learning the paramount priority
  • Become more knowledgeable about learning
  • Make learning transparent
  • Be omnipresent witnesses to learning
  • Practise evidence-informed, inquiry-based leadership
  • Promote assessment for learning
  • Engage students in decisions about their learning
  • Involve parents in their children’s learning
  • Model effective adult learning
  • Create the emotional conditions for learning
Hargreaves & Fink, 2006

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