Monday, 5 January 2009

Networked Leaders

Educators often say to me that they don't have time to read, research or keep up to date with new ideas. They are too busy doing stuff!!

I recently came across this video on connectivism, created by Wendy Drexler. The video shows the power of connections and how the development of networks can help find information more quickly and effectively. This is not just needed for teachers but also for educational leaders. As leaders it is worth taking the time to develop these skills in ourselves, knowing that by doing so we will save time in the long run. It is a bit like the story of the person so busy pulling people out of the river that he doesn't have time to go upstream and see why people are falling in the river in the first place.

Leaders must be knowledgeable - in research as well as practice. Michael Fullan talks of the need for school principals to move back to instructional (pedagogical) leadership, spending less time on the bricks and mortar and more on student learning. For this to happen leaders need time. Some would argue that the system works against having this time and to some extent this is true. However, there are principals who do find the time - because they realise the vital importance of preparing the learning beds - getting the soil right and planting the most important crops. Just as, in the video, a good teacher makes connections to help students develop skills, so do educational leaders.

In his latest book Visible Learning, John Hattie synthesises over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. Educational leaders can use this summary to determine what they may need to work on next in their school. If school leaders are to spend time on instructional matters they should focus on what matters. Some of the key ideas from the article include the importance of feedback, challenge and relationships. His model of Visible Teaching-Visible Learning is this:

When teachers SEE learning through the eyes of the student
When students SEE themselves as their own teachers

(Hattie, 2009:238)

So to bring it back to connectivism and using networks to find out information quickly, here are some links to Hattie's new ideas:
Sunday News article on Hattie's thinking, including his thoughts on rewarding excellent teachers
Twitter Poll asking the question How should great teachers be recognised? What do you think?

As a leader, what connections will you make? How will you get more information, share and connect with others?

John Hattie's book can be purchased through fishpond (see the link on this blog)

1 comment:

Brian said...

How neat to know educators the world over are stressed over being too busy and not "having time!" I just wrote about the same thing. Good to meet you!