Leadership for learning concepts principles and practice

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John MacBeath,April 2010 v2 March 2012, through the stages of infancy childhood adolescence adulthood and old age What. do we know and what are we still finding out learning about the effects of health. diet play exercise sport and social relationships on the creation of intelligence. Intelligence is a seed that is laid at conception and continues to be shaped and. reshaped throughout a lifetime by ourselves with a little help from our friends As. the Harvard scholar David Perkins once put it We are the architects of our own. intelligence, The Practical may be called thinking inside the box It means recognising and. taking note of all the structures and protocols we have created for ourselves and for. the children we teach The buildings the classrooms the furniture the teaching. materials the tests and exams are all put in place to provide a home for children s. learning a place we call school And it is a privilege and we hope a pleasure for. children who sometimes travel miles on foot to get an education But do those. structures always serve the purpose for which they were designed They have been. made and they can be re made, How can we bring the conceptual knowledge and the practical knowledge closer. together What is there in our carefully designed structures and routines that doesn t. really help but in fact constrains children s learning In what way do the formal. relationships of schools and classrooms between adults and children and among. children actually inhibit not only children s learning but the learning of those who. teach and lead them Why do some children fail to learn well Why do some teachers. stop learning Why do many children and their teachers stop leading and simply. learn to do what they are told, This is where leadership comes into its own Leadership is enhanced when it takes. account of three simple but profoundly important ideas which we call Connect. Extend Challenge, Connect means to begin to try and make the connections between the conceptual and.
practical It means seeking out the connections between what we already know about. children and adult learning what we know about professional learning and about. what is called organisational learning which is how an organisation such as a. school learns Learning and leadership come together in this constant and ongoing. activity of making connections It is also what the brain does in every waking and. sleeping minute making connections and making sense an interesting term when. we think about it As human beings we make sense And of course that is what. classrooms are and should be about making connections making sense. Extend means to go beyond what we already know It is about making new. connections extending our field of vision to the things that often lie hidden As. educators take part in conferences and workshops they go with an intention of. enhancing what they already know As they take part they move from the known to. unknown enriching not only their knowledge fund but enlarging their repertoire of. skills and strategies These may be the skills of management of how to deal with the. routine and predictable tasks of running a school or district or the more finely. nuanced skills of responding to the unpredictable What cannot be predicted are the. changing relationships unanticipated events crises and unexpected opportunities to. John MacBeath,April 2010 v2 March 2012, make a difference And it is tested by the ability to take the conceptual matter the. stuff of workshops into the practical day to day of school life so extending and. enriching learning, Challenge is the less comfortable aspect of leading and learning It means looking. again at what we think or what we think we know It means looking again at what we. feel and why we feel it It means taking a fresh look at what we do and asking. ourselves why we do it These are the three aspects of leading and learning which. may be represented by overlapping circles because what we do in the busy demands. of school life is very often invested with feeling What we think or know both. guides and is a response to what we do and our feelings about opportunities and. challenges are always there in the background or in the very forefront to our thinking. and acting It may be said that how leaders respond to the challenge is the true and. best measure of leadership, Much of our focus is on the headteacher the gatekeeper of what happens in a school. leading others within his or her realm of influence but also accountable to others. beyond as well as within the school His or her leadership and his or her. accountability requires an ability to connect extend and challenge It requires a. developing self knowledge and an ability to reflect on actions taken as well as those. about to be taken It requires being in touch with one s feelings and a recognition of. the extent to which emotions can guide but also confuse actions taken. Leadership and learning are indispensable to one another. However everything that is said about leadership and learning is not the sole province. of the big leader Being a professional being a teacher means recognising that. teaching is above all an emotional business and that all of what teachers do in a. classroom is infused with knowing and feeling But above all knowing and feeling. are not static They change and evolve Teaching therefore means being able to. connect to what is already known and connecting to what children know and bring. with them into the classroom prior knowledge prior feelings prior skills and. expertise As professionals holding one of the most responsible jobs in a nation s. welfare teachers also have to extend their knowledge and their repertoire of skills. John MacBeath,April 2010 v2 March 2012, And as they become better and more skilful practitioners they have a moral and. professional obligation to challenge their practice and to be open to challenge Good. teachers are learners and they are leaders not only in their own classroom but in. relation to their colleagues and their communities. Thou wilt surely wear away both thou and this people that is with thee for this thing is. too heavy for thee thou art not able to perform it thyself alone. Advice to Moses Exodus 18 v 21, For teachers too leading and learning brings accountability It is both external to.
district region Ministry and parents and internal to the headteacher colleagues. and the children entrusted to one s care It is complex and demanding to have to. account for what is taught and more importantly what is learned but it is highly. satisfying when there is a good story to tell about children s progress in their learning. The good story is one in which we recognise that children s learning is also founded. on the trinity of connect extend challenge Effective teaching honours and observes. these three precepts Whether it is adding two and two to make four or making. connections between spoken sounds and printed words learning works best when it. builds on connects to what children already know from their home and community. life from the intuitive abilities they are born with For example babies as young as. one or two years old know that two and two make four and they can make two. things into four and subtract two things from four to leave two but they haven t yet. acquired the symbolic form in which to express those ideas Teaching therefore is. about extending their repertoire of skills and challenging them to think and not. simply to respond to what they are told or simply give answers to a closed question. around which there is no room for debate or creativity. For children knowing feeling and doing are especially powerful Pupils freeze when. the challenge is too high and they withdraw when they face embarrassment or. ridicule They get bored when the challenge is too low and they enjoy a challenge. when it brings their natural curiosity and innate desire to learn to the fore They learn. best when they are active when they have opportunities to talk and discuss a problem. and how to solve it when they are freed from the tyranny of the right answer. And like everyone else children are accountable We expect them to be accountable. for their behaviour for their attention to the task at hand for the respect they give to. their peers and to their teachers for the privilege of learning At the same time as. with teachers and headteachers it is unfair and demoralising to be held accountable for. things which are not within your own discretion over which you have no control. There is an important principle which should guide relationships at every level with a. school and beyond It is the principle of reciprocity also known as the first moral. imperative Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. A wedding cake, We have tried to capture these complex ideas with a diagram It is one not of our. making but one that has evolved from work with teachers headteachers school. John MacBeath,April 2010 v2 March 2012, boards and other stakeholders in a number of countries including Ghana We have. tested and refined it on the basis of discussions workshops and school visits and we. hope it will continue to evolve and grow deeper as we continue on this collaborative. learning journey, The outer frame is a reminder that all leadership in education stems from a moral. purpose Like democratic values these are open to debate but come back to the. reciprocity principle which is about respect for people of whatever age It holds that. the power and authority given to us carries with it an accountability for how we use it. not to our own personal benefit but for the benefit of others. The base on which the three tier model or wedding cake sits carries the four key. words agency leadership learning and activity The two words leadership and. learning sit between two important but complex ideas agency and activity. Agency refers to something which all human beings share the ability and indeed the. need to be an active agent on the environment you find yourself in We could. simply let the environment act on us and like a vessel adrift at sea allow it to push us. around helpless to do anything for ourselves Agency means being proactive taking. the initiative One can stand on a river bank and watch someone drown or one can. exercise agency and jump in to save the drowning person Or one can marshall all the. onlookers to work together to take joint action This is an act of agency and an act of. leadership It is leadership as activity, Activity refers in the above example to something done without reference to status. or position It may be an adult or a child a man or woman a boy or girl who takes the. lead who influences and directs others In a school context the scope for leadership. activity is immense When we see leadership in an activity however large or however. small we begin to connect with the idea and extend its scope So for example when. a pupil without being asked takes the initiative to help another pupil it is a small but. significant act of leadership When a teacher unbidden gives advice counselling or. support to a young inexperienced colleague it is an act of leadership. John MacBeath,April 2010 v2 March 2012, The three tier wedding cake rests on this foundation It can only be truly made sense.
of within the values which frame it and the four key ideas on which it is based Its. three tiers represent different levels and forms of learning and the interconnections. between them So student or pupil learning is not simply a matter of what happens. in the classroom but depends on and is closely related to professional learning This. raises the question How can pupils learn well if their teachers don t see themselves. as learners or aren t continuously open to extending and challenging their work And. how can teachers learn well if the school isn t a learning organisation in other words. a place which is constantly making the connections at all three levels challenging. itself to do better and extending the skills of all its members. The topping on the wedding cake are the five LfL principles created during an. international project financed by the Carpe Vitam Foundation in Sweden They have. been further applied and developed in Ghana, These five principles reach down and permeate all three layers All apply to student. learning professional learning and organisational learning. 1 A focus on learning, The first principle is a focus on learning The two key words are focus and. learning To focus means to pay close attention to to select what is important and to. keep it in the foreground Those who exercise leadership have at times to pay. attention to things other than learning Managing a school requires attention to a host. of priorities and it is easy to be distracted by constant demands and other peoples. urgencies However while a focus on learning always remains in the background of. thinking whenever possible it has to be brought into the foreground It comes into the. foreground when leadership is able to discriminate between the important and the. urgent and knows where the priorities lie,Important Important. and urgent but not,Urgent Not important,but not and not urgent. and urgent,2 Conditions for learning, How can you focus on learning when conditions are so bad that simply getting.
children and teachers to school is both urgent and important How can you focus on. Leadership for learning concepts principles and practice Leadership and learning are indispensable to one another So said John F Kennedy in the speech he prepared to give in Dallas on the day of his assassination What did he mean and what do we mean when we talk about Leadership for Learning Words words words Leadership is a word in common everyday use and with a multitude

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