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I came across this fascinating blogpost yesterday by Stephen Downes, the Canadian education technology research specialist, and it gives a really thought provoking insight into many issues which resonate with the thinking of the National CPD Team (and probably many of our extended learning community as well).
In deconstructing the myriad of approaches to learning which Stephen identifies as either present or emerging, he re-evaluates the role of the educator, in alignment with the changing demands these different approaches bring with them.
He then identifies 23 different roles an educator may be required to fulfill and suggests that far from simplistically implying that educators are the most important determinant of student achievement, we might be wise to look much more carefully at educators strengths and deployment, and at how online learning is evolving, with opportunities for learners to seek out what they need when they need it. And most importantly, he suggest that we should be thinking and talking about this; having the conversations, and identifying moments to accomodate a shift in this direction.
A useful post-hoc contribution to the Summer School 2010 on transformational change, and great stuff for discussion in our online communities.
Let the conversations begin!
Stephen’s article was sourced in the Dec 8th edition of Huffington Post
Thanks to CPD Managers at local authority level for returning the leadership survey. Interesting now for the National CPD team to be looking at models of leadership development within schools. Really worthwhile to hear of interesting initiatives on this to support our own observations.
We enjoyed holding our second meeting of the leadership advisory group in June. This is a consultancy group formed with the purpose of informing and advising the National CPD Team. From the evidence of the leadership survey we agreed some action points on leadership development designed to support local authorities.
The experience of Margaret Barclay, Danny Murphy, Gillian Hamilton and Charlie McAteer continues to be invaluable in determining our contribution to the national agenda. We will take forward these action points and be in liaison with CPD Managers as we do this. One of the action points is to review and redraft “CPD For Educational Leaders (2003)” which we know many of us continue to use to provide a structure for leadership development at school and authority level.
We were all inspired by the FRH Leadership conference over two days in May. We joined 42 aspiring headteachers from 11 local authorities and 22 professional development coaches. We focussed on the themes of strategic leadership, coaching and personal learning plans. We were very pleased with the positive evaluation of the programme and look forward to meeting up again withour colleagues at our next one day seminar in November.
We have attached a copy of the FRH model for your information.
Graham Thomson and I were delighted to do a presentation and lead a discussion on this theme at the recent Practitioner Research event at St Georges in Edinburgh. Linda Blencowe who is the Research and Development Fellow at the school arranges these early evening events on a regular basis, and it was good to see so many colleagues coming along after school to talk about learning and teaching. You can contact Linda at email@example.com to find out more about this excellent example of teachers teaching teachers.
The photo shows Graham and I with the headmistress Helen Mackie.
The attached paper on lesson observation using the descriptive voice is a direct product of our Learning Rounds work in school. It represents my deep held view that we have to ensure a process of lesson observation that is meaningful, makes a difference and builds on colleagues’ strengths. We would very much welcome any feedback from colleagues and would love to hear about your involvement in good practice around lesson observation.
The paper starts with –
The challenge for every school leader is to create the conditions that maximise each child’s development. Increasingly in Scotland this is being delivered through a Curriculum for Excellence. To do this effectively it is essential to get to grips with the leadership of learning. However the problem for senior managers in some schools is that they are not associated with the leadership of learning but rather the management of the processes and structures around Learning and Teaching such as obtaining supply staff and timetabling.
What is it that school leaders can do that impacts positively on Learning and Teaching? Firstly, they can create an environment that facilitates excellent practice, they can support and encourage teachers to develop their skills and knowledge in Learning and Teaching and, finally, introduce a step-by-step approach that will lead to system wide change. This is change not just at the level of one or two teachers but right across the school.
Leadership of Learning is a key theme of the Learning Rounds programme and the following is a good text if you want to read more about the issue:
What We Know About School Leadership. Nottingham: NCSL
This report presents an overview of what is known about school leadership, drawing together commissioned research and evaluations NCSL has undertaken, the outcomes of practitioner enquiries, seminars and think tanks, as well as literature reviews and work outside England and education. A key feature of the report is that school leaders should ‘generate and sustain discussion about Learning & Teaching’ (p.20).
It can be accessed on http://www.ncsl.org.uk/media-3e7-55-what-we-know-about-school-leadership.pdf.