I am getting perturbed. For a while I have been pondering where we are heading with educational leadership. I have read the latest books by Michael Fullan and I think he makes some good points. Trouble is there is a little voice nattering in my right ear... "but is that going to be enough in the future?" My worry is that we keep talking about leadership of schools from a past paradigm and I have a sneaking suspicion we need to move on... In fact it's more than sneaking...it's perturbing.
When I read the blogpost from Singapore Education Consultants, Education in Singapore - TIMMS and the "New Stupid" it confirmed my thinking. The blog quotes Mike Schmoker as raising the question whether the data that that has been collected by schools promotes 21st-century teaching and learning? Those schools that are achieving high test scores in the model of today's education say why would we change - we are successful. Schmoker's argument is that you can increase test scores without offering students tasks that are intellectually stimulating.
So if we are saying that students need to be multiliterate, to think for themselves, problem solve, think critically, be self aware, be flexible and relate to others why are we measuring learning in the same old ways. Can't we have 'and-both'? As leaders, what are we doing to drive education forward for new times? Measurement using educational standards have been tried in a number if countries with dubious success. Unintended results include teaching to the test, and the narrowing of the curriculum to be mainly focused on literacy (from a narrow perspective) and numeracy. Is that enough to create leaders for the future? I don't think so.
So here are some key questions to think about for principals and administrators:
What do we consider the essential competencies or dispositions for the 21st century to be?
Does the data we collect enhance learning for the 21st century?
Are we looking out to other schools, or beyond schools to other educational learning centres, beyond educational frames to look at global trends, busines, web 2.0...
What literacies do we need for the 21st century - just reading and writing?
What are we going to do about it?