The 30th July has dawned and some reflection is in order.
Last year I wrote a response and quoted Seth Godin suggesting that leaders must be prepared to be ‘incompetent’ for a while in order to learn:
It doesn’t take a lot of time to change … to reinvent … or to redesign. No, it doesn’t take time; it takes will. The will to change. The will to take a risk. The will to become incompetent – at least for a while.
This year, it feels important to be more strident in choice of quotes, as the pace of change sees many falling so far behind that it becomes ’dangerous’ - in the sense that Scott titles his blog, “Dangerously Irrelevant” – for our educational institutions. It is ‘dangerous’ for our systems and student learning opportunities but also, for the individual professional themselves. It is dangerous to sense of self if individual learners are not engaged in, and modelling, life-long learning and appear to be moribund or neo-luddite in attitude.
Here’s some quite pointed wisdom from Eric Shinseki, as quoted by Tom Peters, which has occasionally led to robust debate about leaders and technology with delegates/workshop participants in my sessions:
If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less
The best advice to any educational leader that can be given, IMHO, is to do the following, to personally stay engaged, in the quest to ‘stay relevant’ and engaged in learning:
- Talk incessantly to students with your ears about the tools and lifestyle they live with technology and what they want to learn about
- Walk the walk and smile; create opportunities for the enthusiastic at your place of learning. To do this one needs to read, read, read
- Set personal edtech related learning and sharing goals eg I want to have a school leadership blog to share my journey and professionally grow colleagues or I want to master Photoshop to help me represent ideas better (even better, help someone else on the team to achieve their goals)
- Learn about and organise RSS feeds into a reader from an ever-growing number of sites, blogs and professional sources. This leads to ongoing awareness of what changes would be best at your learning establishment
- Learn how to (and actually) use social media tools. My favs are Flickr, delicious, twitter and/or yammer - what are yours?
- Spend time online every day to establish routines
- Get a smartphone which allows one to stay in touch with the above in any spare moments to effectively manage time
- Publicly discuss/blog your errors and areas you just did not intellectually ‘get’; make it ok to fail at your place of learning. Facilitate authentic dialogue.
- Present about your journey and more interesting things at conferences to stay in, and help make, the loop
- Mentor and nurture those ‘above’ and ‘below’ you in the leadership pyramid and seek the same in return, wherever possible, to keep learning from others
At our school we talk about, “who can I help, who can help me?” This is due to our belief that a sound approach for leaders is to have the fundamental responsibility to help ‘create more leaders’. We need more educators willing to take on formal and informal leadership roles; it is really important as our profession ages comparative to the workforce.
To conclude this post for #leadershipday10 I need to reiterate, it is all about life-long learning and my favourite quote for us educators is from the late Garth Boomer, who said:
We teach others by teaching ourselves anew