Tony Gurr

Archive for the ‘Educational Leadership’ Category

Want to Build a GREAT School? Follow These 10 Commandments…

In Educational Leadership, Our Schools, Our Universities, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness on 12/07/2016 at 9:39 pm

LEARNing Monkey (Abigail Adams quote TG ver)

This was the post that I planned to use to re-launch my bouts of bloggery this summer…

 

In the end I went with an ‘easier’ option…because it was so bloody difficult to plan, draft and finish! I started by reflecting on all the schools I had worked with this year…and all the ways I had tried to support their plans and initiatives (an ‘annual’ review, if you will).

 

It wasn’t enough! So…I went back 5 years (and almost every blog post I had ever written)…still didn’t quite cut it!

Blogging sucks (sign)

I found myself going back to the work of EDU Jedi Masters and their discussions of ‘what works in schools’…combining this with the THUNKS of those that helped me consider ‘what matters in schools’…and, reflecting on all the pearls of wisdom I had picked up from the school improvement, accreditation and institutional enhancement programmes I had worked on.

exploding head

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That got me closer (but I had close to thirty pages of notes) – it was time for a procrastination pill!

Netflix Pill TG ver 100716

In the end, I decided to do a ‘career review’ – yes, reflect on the successes I had witnessed and LEARNed from, all my failures (because they helped me more than the successes I may have had and helped co-create) and all things I still have on my EDU Bucket Listafter over 30 years in the busyness of LEARNing.

 

The listicle of my ‘Magic 10’ Commandments started to take shape…but then the last episode of this year’s Game of Thrones forced me to binge-watch the earlier 50 episodes!

Procrastination (dice now never later)

What? I’m on holiday, too!

 

So…just to prove that all those quotes you can pull up (if you google ‘procrastination’) are hogwashhere you go:

IMAGE CREDIT: https://creativetheology.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/10-commandments.jpg

If you want to build a GREAT school…

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Thou Shalt ‘begin with the end in mind’ and ensure that your school is built on a focussed and clearly stated purpose – and make sure that all members of the school community understand, share and are committed to this purpose and the goals of the school…

Purpose CoP TG ver 100716

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Thou Shalt believe in the transformative power of LEARNing, place LEARNing at the heart of your decision-making and walk-your-talk…

Change and Thinking TG ver 100716

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Thou Shalt recruit the best TEACHers you can, retain them (at all costs) and renew their talents, skills and knowledge at every opportunity you find…

Good School (quote) TG ver 100716

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Thou Shalt plan, implement and renew a curriculum / assessment framework that emphasises LEARNing the ‘right’ things in the ‘right’ way…

Delivering LEARNing TG ver 100716

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Thou Shalt provide caring and effective leadership, create the conditions for wider shared-, teacher-, and student-leadership – and evaluate the quality of this leadership in terms of the level of trust you build and the amount of LEARNing co-created across the school…

Leadership TG ver 100716

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Thou Shalt create an environment and climate that is organised, secure and safe – yet provides for risk-taking, creativity and imagineering at the student, classroom, departmental and school level…

Success TG ver 100716

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Thou Shalt create a culture that is driven by professionalism, collaboration, and stakeholder involvement – and is fuelled by an ethos of feedback, improvement and results… Leader Shadow TG ver 100716

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Thou Shalt build and maintain a classroom-focussed LEARNing culture grounded on high expectations for both students and TEACHers, dialogic TEACHing practices and an approach to the adoption of EdTech driven by ‘fitness-for-purpose’ and ‘LEARNing first, TECHnology second’… 

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Learning WoG TG ver 100716

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Thou Shalt adopt a research and evidence-based approach to change and planning – and balance the use of external best practices and internal research findings, as well as ‘big’ and ‘small data’…

EBP TG ver 100716 

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Thou Shalt use a range of policies, processes, and practices designed to evaluate and enhance the quality of decision-making, curriculum and assessment systems, classroom teaching, professional learning communities, allocation of resources, and stakeholder involvement across the school…

Quality TG ver 100716

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That’s 10, right?

 

As I was boiling all the Commandments down, I did ask myself whether I need to ‘spell them out’ more. I hope they are clear…as I hinted, they are all backed by solid research and evidence-based practice (EBP) – but I have seen them ‘work’ and know they ‘matter’!

 

Can I rank them – in terms of importance or priority? Not really – but I’d be interested to see how you might…or (even more) see if you would add any others…

 

T..

 

 

Why there is no more room for the “Blame Game” in 21C LEARNing Culture…

In Educational Leadership, ELT and ELL, Our Schools, Our Universities, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness on 19/09/2013 at 10:47 pm

21C Logo TG ver 02

I know, I know

…I promised that I would stop using the phrase “21st Century LEARNing”.

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SUE me (Ver 02)

OK – so glad we got that out of the way!

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In one of my very first posts (seems like a lifetime or three ago…but it is, in fact, only 30 months) –  The End of the Highway – I talked about the type of organisational culture that I saw evolving over the next few years (for the Information Age and Knowledge Economyso now you see why I went with “21C” a wee bit later).

A culture, I suggested, that was characterized NOT by the “old world” my-way-or-the-highway approaches adopted by so many of the “bosses” we had when we were younger…but by a “new world” organisational culture grounded on:

21C Org Culture (ver 02)

OMG! My graphics were pretty lousy back in the day, yes?

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Now, that’s a place I want to live…the kind of place I want my grandkids to LEARN within (no, just stop asking me about that bloody “manopause” thing already)!

A true LEARNing Culture for the 21st Century!

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But, what happens, for example, if I meet with an untimely demise – there are many Mütevelli Heyeti Presidents out there (a few YÖK employees, too) that would not be too unhappy if Tony Hoca “disappeared” or just started sleeping with the fishes (shock-horror).

Or, perhaps…I just get eaten by Zombies

Zombie Grammar In Use

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Those grandkids of mine might grow up (in canım Türkiyem, of course) with a wonderful degree of control over their mother-tongue…but be not so hot in their grand-daddy’s tongue.

Heck, they might even have to go though Hazırlık for a few months…

Hazırlık Mob (Proficiency Test)

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As I suggested in my last postall is not well in the state of “hazırlık” – apathy and lack of interest in the most important medium of global communication on the part of many hazırlık students, has evolved into a zombie-like pandemic! 

Bloody hell – just typing those words scared the beejeebers outta me…

Hocam will this be on the test 

The Ottoman Empire was once described as the sick man of Europe – today, it is Hazırlık that is being described in similar terms:

Hazırlık (sick man of HEd) ver 01

In truth…all of HigherEd in canım Türkiyem…needs a check-up!

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However, rather than help “fix” this very real problem – there is many a faculty lecturer, a head of department, a dean (or Vice Rector…even) within our so-called English-medium universities that would love us all to believe this (perhaps to cover the fact that their own English language skills are not that great or that they are still “delivering” English-medium “courses” in Turkish – of course, all down to the fact that the Hazırlık “Team” taught them nowt)!

These critical hazırlık stakeholders” (many of whom do not even know where the hazırlık building is) just can’t get enough of passing-the-buck – or playing…

Blame Game (TG ver)

 …you know how it goes, yes?

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You also know the question that always gets asked…first!

Who is to blame

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Will they never LEARN?

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We could, of course, point all those fingers at the students themselves. I mean it’s not as if they don’t give us enough reasons.

Reasons, I might say, are all reinforced by the things many hazırlık teachers have been overheard sayingthunkingagain and again!

Kids today

Go on! Raise your hand, if you have NEVER said one of these…

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The parents?

Yes, they started all this…

Pointing at the belly

…and dragged their kids up to be all the things they never could…be…afterall!

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There is no shortage of “targets” for our fingers – just look at how many we have in both Hazırlık…and the post-Hazırlık world (remember guys…there is a life after the proficiency exam – before, too)!

The TARGETS

…and, let’s not forget those pesky trouble-makers – Teacher Trainers!

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BUT…

Hang on there

Weren’t we saying something about…a 21C LEARNing Culture?

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How does this “finger-pointing” fit in with a climate of collaboration… – and what were those other thingimejigs we all say we want to see in our institutions?

21C LEARNing Culture (TG ver 02 upgrade)

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Heck, if we look at our websites – we ALREADY have them…ALL!

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If we really believe that this type of LEARNing Culture is who we arewhat we need – is there “room” for the BLAME GAME?

NO

Sorry about that full stop…beating off Zombies here!

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Call me a “dreamer” (I take that as a compliment, BTW)!

Call me a “fool” (Mmmm, this one…not so much)!

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Is it just me…acaba…that thunks…

Different QUESTIONS

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A good start is this one:

Rather than (Peter Block)

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Every single “stakeholder” in every single university across canım Türkiyem has, in some way, contributed to the pandemic spread of the Lise5 Syndrome – even the parents (and those Vice Rectors I mentioned).

And, you know what?

I’m guessing many other English-medium universities around the globe…have their own strain of the Zombie virus we have been looking at.

You can take that to the bank…

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b

THUNKing a wee bit differently…is the key!

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If we could just get to that first “question flip”, we might have a chancewe might survive!

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Hey, you never know…we could then perhaps ask a few other questions:

Perhaps then (Peter Block)

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That having been said…

Give LIFE a SHAKE (Ian Gilbert)

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…maybe, we can just keep “living” with the “walking dead”!

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NOTE from the CBO

This post is a “potted” (and updated) version of a mini-dizi I did back in May 2013 (for all you busy, busy folk). If you want to take a closer look (and consider even more “thunking questions” for the challenge that is hazırlık here in Turkey, take a look at the following posts:

Got EDUcational Literacy…?

In Assessment, Classroom Teaching, Curriculum, Educational Leadership, ELT and ELL, Teacher Learning on 09/06/2013 at 10:10 am

Got EdL (TG ver)

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I’ve just read Scott Thornbury’s latest (and last) post on his wonderful blog – An A-Z of ELT.

I was gob-smacked!

What a way to go out…with a wonderful list of “must-read” posts!

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Not to worry…he’ll have a new one  for us after Summer!

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Scott’s blog personifies…for me…the thunks that characterise an educator with a high degree of “fluency” in what I have dubbed EDUcational Literacy (esp. for those in the world of ELT) – just take a look at the 30 posts he highlights in that last post of his!

Soooooo much great “bedtime” reading for the Summer!

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Yeah…you guessed it! I was in the middle of doing my own “Sunday Post” when Scott’s landed in my in-box! But, I meant what I said…he just gave me a nice “hook”!

So…

“What exactly is EDUcational Literacy”?

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Pretty reasonable question, actually!

In a nutshell:

EDUCATIONAL LITERACY 01

 

In a way, Educational Literacy (let’s stick with the abbreviation – EdL) is something that should concern everyone on the planet. Any parent wishing to help his or her child make “wise” decisions about schools, colleges or university – needs to have EdL. Any teacher walking into a classroom (for the “first” or the “50,000th” timeneeds to have a lot of EdL, if she wants to be truly effective.

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EdL is something parentsstudentsteacherseducational administrators or anyone involved or interested in the world of learning (including, dare I say, media representativespublishers and politicians) – must have!

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In the case of teachersEdL is more than the teaching-related knowledge and skills required to manage a classroom, present content and practice teaching points – that is known as Pedagogic Literacy. Nor is also just our knowledge of grammar, structure and vocabulary (major components of Disciplinary Literacyin the world of ELL and ELT).

It touches on a teacher’s beliefs and values, the way she interacts with her learners and the extent to which she reflects on her own practice – to grow professionally and create even “better” LEARNing opportunities for those around her.

As such, EdL is a multi-dimensional construct – a true “multiple literacy”. It is not simply the product of adding to “a stack of facts and figures” or throwing more tools into “a bag o’ tricks” – it is experienced and lived through the synaptic-type interrelationships between a number of literacies (and fluencies)…

EDUCATIONAL LITERACY 02

EdL is also something that many people (sadly) do not possess – and this is what lies at the heart of many of the challenges we face in education.

For example:

  • Parents that tell teachers that their job is to “create” an engineer or doctor out of “Little Mehmet” – have low levels of EdL…sorry mum (and dad)!
  • Students that “blame” their failure on a given exam or the “academic clubs” that manipulate exam cut-offs – have low levels of EdL…sorry guys, time to take some responsibility (unless, that is, their educators also happen to have low levels of “Assessment Literacy”)!
  • Lecturers and teachers that do not even bother to learn the names of their students or “care” what these students “bring” to the classroom – have low levels of EdL…no apologies required here!
  • Educational Managers (up to and including Principals and Rectors) who value their “seat” more than the LEARNing of their learners and still fail to see the importance of “walking-the-talk” – have low levels of EdL…guys, just move aside (the 21stCentury is here)!
  • Schools that live off the “fat” (or prestige) of the “past” or try to “fake-it-till-they-make-it” – have amazingly low levels of EdL…time to “get real” and evidence what you “say” you “are”!
  • Media representatives that report the “league tables” without helping students and their parents to ask the right questions about how the “rankings” were carried out – have no EdL wotsoever…come on, guys – earn your pay-cheques!
  • Publishers who tell educators/teacher-trainers to put on a “show” and not bother with all that “LEARNing stuff” – fail the “EdL test”…totally…!
  • Politicians…Mmmmm…hey, who the hell said it was possible to “save every soul”!?!?

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You get the idea!

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EdL is essentially “realized” (and developed or learned) through the application of Critical Literacy to allthingseducation – critical reflection as applied to LEARNing and TEACHing.

EDUCATIONAL LITERACY 05

However, because of the very nature of both LEARNing and TEACHingEdL has a powerful emotional componentEdL appreciates that EDUcation and LEARNing are fundamentally “emotional experiences” that require Emotional Intelligence (or EQ) is also brought to bear on matters of LEARNing and TEACHing.

EdL (Care and Emotions)

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This is why LEARNing and TEACHing professionals need to exhibit high levels of Emotional Literacy:

  • Emotional sensitivity
  • Emotional memory
  • Emotional problem-solving ability
  • Emotional learning ability

and, to borrow from Gardner:

  • “Intrapersonal Intelligence”
  • “Interpersonal Intelligence”

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With so many abilities, skills and talents required of TEACHerstell me again:

EDUCATIONAL LITERACY 04

I must have missed that memo!

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EdL thus describes what an individual (especially EDUcators) “thinks” or “knows” about EDUcation, LEARNing and TEACHing, what s/he “does” with what s/he knows and also what s/he does to “improve” what s/he knows, does and feels in regard to allthingsEDUcation.

EDUCATIONAL LITERACY 03

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EdL also respects the role of theprofessional teacher – and what an “effective” teacher can do with what s/he can do with what s/he knows – as such, Pedagogic Literacy is also a focus of its attention, as is Curriculum Literacy and Assessment Literacy.

The problem is, taking Assessment Literacy as an example:

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Assessment Literacy is perhaps the best-known of the components that make up EdL – well, in educational reading circles at least. It has been described in the following way:

Assess Lit 01

BUT…I have to admitI prefer this one:

Assess Lit 02

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If most of us were really, really honest…we’d recognise that we all need to do a bit of LEARNing in this area – especially, when we remember these two little thunks

Assess Lit 03

And…then…we have the matter of Curriculum Literacy!

from A1 to B2 (in 9 months)

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Have YOU…has YOUR school (and its leaders):

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Got EdL (TG ver)

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Scott does! Thanks for the thunks. brother…

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FIXing Hazırlık…(the Postscript)

In Educational Leadership, ELT and ELL, Our Universities, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness on 26/05/2013 at 11:12 pm

Dummies (fixing hazırlık))

Some of you might be thunking…a postscript?

What the heck for?

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That last post gave us so many good best practices to get our teeth into…actually, we’ve already got / done a few of them.

All we need to do is put all the others in place!

8Checklist (WRONG)

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You might be right! Maybe…I should just get round to writing that book I mentioned…the one above?

Afterall, it’s that type of advice that ‘sells’…yes?

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Certainly sells more than wishy-washy, idealisticquixotic stuff like:

Learning and Improving 01

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…or even,

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Learning and Improving 02

 

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Sorry (bw)

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My turn to say…

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NO

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Now, don’t get me wrong…a lot of those suggestions can be very good for an institution. Getting involved in an accreditation process can really help an institution to ‘see’ itself…

REFLECTing ourselves

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My worry is…

…exactly how much can going through the motions of an accreditation process (I did not say anything about…jumping through hoops…honest!) help us with problems like the ones we noted in the very first post of this mini-series:

Lise 5

you know, remember…we said something about ‘hazırlık’ being ‘broken’!

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Seriously, go back and take a look at all those suggestions (this is where you CLICK…on the ‘red’ stuff)…

put yourself in the shoes of a ‘typical’ student at your own institution (no, not one of those ‘süper-inek’, 100% scholarship students that our schools ‘love’ to cream off the YÖK lists)…

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…and ‘answer’ this little question:

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Litmus Test FQ

Hey! Maybe, you could even ask a few students…for REAL?

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Or, you could just ask the teachers, too!

Teacher (hands tied)

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Yes, it’s that simple – that is the ‘litmus test’ for any ‘quality’ initiative or any ‘improvement’ strategy!

Anything else, especially the way I presented those ideas, is a bit like:

Quality (the wrong way)

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Remember…

Broken Quality (TG definition)

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Now, you might also (round about this time) be thunking:

WHY (joker Face)

…is Tony telling us this?

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Those ‘lovely’ accreditation folks (and the expense-paid trip)…painted a very different picture!

Tony’s suggestions (or rather…those of his ‘mates’) are very similar to those standards they showed us…the action points they suggested we put into our ‘self-study audit’

…all the things we have to put on our 18-24 month ‘to-do-list

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Sorry (bw)

…again…

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But, in my defence, I did tell you this mini-series was gonna be all about…

Truth (mini ver 01)

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The thing is, when me and me mates, did that listwe kinda forgot ourselves (the wine did not help either)

…we became:

Cheerleaders (accreditation)

…rather than EDUcators!

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…just for a couple of hours, mind! We’re OK…now.

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We just forgot that many of the people who put accreditation body ‘standards’ together have actually been in the ‘quality game’ for years (decades even). They have worked in schools that have built and re-invented their own traditions over timeand made many a mistake along the way!

ADAPTation (Paul Schoemaker quote 01)

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These schools have been able to grow, adapt and LEARN new ‘cultures’ – because they have created ‘thunking teams’ who asked the ‘right’ questions.

And, the answers they have ‘co-created’…led them to create thecommunities of purpose we discussed earlier.

ADAPTation (Charles Darwin quote 01)

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These schools were not interested in accreditation

Quality (the real prizes)

…for all the wrong reasons!

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They did not fall foul of the ‘trap’ that many schools have found themselves in:

Quality (Harvey quote)

…they lived ‘quality’!

…and they took the time to LEARN  how to walk-their-own-talk!

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These schools and their ‘quality’ leaders realised that:

Change (BPNE)

…especially if we ‘borrow’ without ‘thunking’ – or, at the very least, consider the issue of ‘fitness-for-purpose’!

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In a nutshell, they realised that they needed to create NEXT Practice’ for their OWN Institutions – and this takes TIME, CARE and LEADERSHIP

LEADERSHIP final definition

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As I noted in Part 02 of this series, many of the people who created accreditation programmes asked themselves the type of questions Peter Block has suggested can help us ‘fix’ many of the challenges we face in our schools, colleges and universities.

And, I bet you all the profits from my next book (LOL) – they also took the advice of Arthur Ashe:

The ARTHUR TEST

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So, if you are serious about ‘fixing’ your hazırlık…what about asking some other questions, too:

4 FQs (where are we right now)

…the more, the merrier – when you thunk these over!

Hazırlık COMMUNITY

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What about these:

What STOPS (teachers and learners)

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Or, one of my favourites:

One SINGLE Problem

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But, double-check this by asking:

2 FQs (to double check)

Forget, the ‘easy’ questions:

Fixing FQ 06

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It is the more ‘profound’ (tougher) questions that will open the minds of your people and connect those in your own community of purpose:

Fixing FQ 08 09 and 10

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Sevgiyle kalın!

FIXing Hazırlık… (Pt 03 of 03)

In Adult Learners, Educational Leadership, ELT and ELL, Our Universities, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness on 25/05/2013 at 1:53 pm

But TONY

Come on, guys! Give me a break…for crying out loud!

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I had wanted to stick with Arthur – but my in-box overfloweth…and not with stuff that I can repeat on this blog (my daughter still reads the posts…from time to time…when I ‘bribe’ her or drop a subtle hint that I have been gossiping about her…again)!

I mean…what the Eternal Example tells us is just goldengolden advice from a golden bloke:

The ARTHUR TEST

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What Nikos Amca tells us about the need to create a ‘community of purpose‘ is ‘golden’:

Purpose 1 (Mourkogiannis quote)

…not to mention, a moral imperative, if we (really) want to do something about the ‘rust’ that has been building up on the hull of the ‘good ship hazırlık’ over the past few years…

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And, what about Peter Block? Those wonderful questions…of his…

YES (red exlam tilted)

…this is what WE need in OUR hazırlık…in ELL Prep Schools across the globe!

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Innit?

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What do you mean…

NO

…you want ‘what’…WHAT?

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Practical advice?

Tips n’ hintsyou can use on Monday morning?

Best practices?

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Al buna!

OK…that was a bit rude of me!

…guess I’ll be dining with Hannibal tonight!

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So, I sat down with some of me mates…and we came up with a few ideas…for you all.

Dummies (fixing hazırlık))

…NO, this does NOT mean you are ‘dummies’ – some of you are soooooo sensitive!

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OK – first off:

Improvement advice 01

Got that? Easy…yes?

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Then,

Improvement advice 02

All good…out there?

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Oh, yes…don’t forget:

Improvement advice 03

What? You want more…?

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OK – you asked for it:

Improvement advice 06

Now, there’s one that can go on everyone’s list!

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Next…and read this one carefully:

Improvement advice 05

I said…’carefully’!

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A few more?…you guys are ‘good’…bloody good:

Improvement advice 04

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More?

Improvement advice 09

…gotta get us some of those ‘handbooks’! Now, how do I Google…

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What about…these three?

Improvement advice 10

This little lot should keep us busy…till Thursday!

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And…on Friday…we can have a stab at this one:

Improvement advice 07

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Whoopsie-daisies…I forgot this one – the ‘bestest practice’ of all:

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Improvement advice 08

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That’s how WE  fix OUR  hazırlık programmes, yes?

ID Card

Türküz…Doğruyuz……Çalışkanız…

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Me thunks…I need a post-script!

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FIXing Hazırlık… (Pt 02 of 03)

In Adult Learners, Educational Leadership, ELT and ELL, Our Universities, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness on 23/05/2013 at 7:48 pm

Change (Arthur Ashe quote)

Love this quote from Arthur Ashe… – go on, take another (closer) look at it…

  • Start where you ARE.
  • Use what you HAVE.
  • Do what you CAN.

If ever there was a recipe (or ‘magic bullet’…even) for ‘fixing’ something that would be it!

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In truthcos that’s what I’m doing a lot of these days…I did not know much about Arthur (we didn’t ‘do’ tennis where I was dragged up)!

It was this very quote, a few years back, that made me take note of his life, character and courageI soooo get (now) why he is referred to as the Eternal Example’ (and why some citizens of ‘my’ canım Türkiyem also hold him in such high regard).

 the PROBLEM (obs)

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It is just…such a pity so many educational institutions (and their ‘leaders’ or ‘in-house experts’), consultants (especially those so-called ‘quality consultants’) and ‘national educational bodies’ have not taken Arthur as their example. 

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Tony! Come on…we said we were ‘done with’:

Blame Game (TG ver)

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I know…I know!

I wasn’t planning to launch into another rantpromise! It’s just that the ideas of Arthur and Peter (whose questions we looked at in the last post) are most often ‘blocked’ by the blame game…or rather those that play the blame game (as well as those that are blamed) – people!

You see…many of the problems we have in our hazırlık schools basically come down to the people that ‘live’ in our universities…and the reason these problems have not been ‘fixed’ is because…these people ain’t fixed them.

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We all get that…

Most people can only SEE

…or their KNOWLEDGE, or their SKILL SET…or their EGO!

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Hazırlık schools form part of a wider university community (though you would never know this by the way many academics and lecturers ‘look down’ on hazırlik staff and their LEARNers)…and a much wider academic community (on a national level).

Ego plays a big role in such communities – and, sadly, these communities are (as a resultnot too good at all this LEARNing stuff…and working together!

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expletive bubble

I…$#*%…you not, Sherlock!

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The Academic Community (and its educators), for the most part, actually see LEARNing (the type they have to do…for themselves) as an ‘admission of ignorance’.

Being seen not to KNOW something about something is almost as bad as not being published in, say, the last 3 years!

This is why so many professors (despite being an ‘expert’ in a very narrow specialty that very few others really care about) suddenly become ‘accreditation experts’ when asked a little question about ‘quality in education’. Isn’t the internet a great ‘research tool’?

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When it comes to language LEARNing, everyone becomes an expert in a ‘flash’ (and an even better finger-pointer) – despite the fact that very few academics or lecturers have taken a methodology course, reflected on their own teaching methods with the help of a peer observer (or a video camera)…or even developed an outcomes-based curriculum model (let alone align this to a framework like the CEFR) – just take a look at all the cut n’ paste jobbies that pass as ‘Bologna compliant documents’ these days!

Just do not get me started on assessment in most of these faculty departments…

Bad ASSESSMENT (Boud QUOTE)

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Sure, we hear lots of lecturers and chairs talking about their own language LEARNing experiences…“when I was in the States” – but is really isn’t the same as teaching in a hazırlık school in big, bad İstanbul, is it now?

Context…matters!

Neither does it help when Rectors and their Deans explain that all language LEARNers (and their teachers) really need is a textbook from the 1970s (the one they used), a pencil and that vocabulary list from you-know-where (also from the 70s…or was it the mid-80s)!

Change (Deming quote)

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Many of the guys charged with running our hazırlık schools are not much better at all this ‘collaboration stuff’ either.

Sorry, guys…just:

Truth (mini ver 02)

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I mean forget not having a curriculum for a minute (just a minute mind)…many have not even bothered to find out what their LEARNers actually need to do with what they LEARN about English when they get to faculty (let alone ‘sit’ through a lecture or tutorial session).

It’s almost as if they do not know that most of their students are there to do departmental studies in English (!) – not LEARN about what Mr and Mrs Brown ‘used to do’ before retirement …besides, who needs to conduct a ‘needs analysis’ we bloody well know what they need, don’t we Raymond?

CEFR Vs Raymond Murphy

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It’s really OK…not to KNOW something.

LEARNing…real LEARNing…within a community (as an active decision-maker in that community) is one of the best ways to ‘fix’ anything! We can move mountains…together!

It’s not OK…to not LEARN…especially when that LEARNing can help the institution and its LEARNers – and (instead) ‘choose’ to play the blame game.

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Many members of the academic or ‘higher LEARNing’ community (and the hazırlık sub-community) in canım Türkiyem just need to recognise that…

You are HERE

…the same as most academic communities all over the globe!

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Bearing that little thunk in mind…it becomes eminently clear that no single person (even if she is the ‘Director-from-heaven’) can ‘fix’ all of the problems we have been looking at in the last few posts. A hazırlık school cannot solve its problems in isolation from the rest of a university – and it should not be expected to!

…or be expected to ‘fix’ stuff…while there is so much dumb, uninformed, cookie-cutter decision-making going on around the Mütevelli Heyeti meeting room table! Yes, I am still talking about increasing contact hours…as a means to improve the quality of student LEARNing!

Ass Backwards (badge)

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Just as it ‘takes a village to raise a child’, it takes every single member of a university community to produce a successful graduate (especially from a school that markets itself as an English-medium university)! These graduates (regardless of which ‘stage’ of their ‘university career’ they are at) ‘belong’ to all of us – their LEARNing is what should guide our decision-making.

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Do you see where I am going with this?

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What Peter (and Arthur, too – even though he did not play a ‘team sport’ either) was basically saying was that the questions he proposes…have to be answered by all those involved in a given community…and that all members of that community play whatever role they can in getting things back on track!

YES (red exlam tilted)

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The hazırlık ‘community’ is a pretty complex one – made up of people who ‘do’ the day-to-day ‘work’ of the community and others that either impact how it ‘does business’ or have an interest is how that business is ‘done’:

Hazırlık COMMUNITY

…and, yes…I know I have probably missed a few!

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The questions Peter proposed:

Peter's QUESTIONS

…can only be effectively addressed when all members of the community speak the same languageare on the same page – (and) speaking (and listening) to eachother might be a good way to start!

Tony Wagner QUOTATION (isolation)

Dream much, Tony?

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And, that’s because a community-that-is-not-really-a-community ain’t gonna be able to do much ‘fixing’ at all!

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We all know that a…

Band aid

…just ain’t gonna do it for our hazırlık woes, don’t we?

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To do that (and you are all gonna hate me for this)…we need a ‘Community of Purpose‘ (or even a community with a ‘common’ purpose…esp. with English-medium, university LEARNing).

Purpose 2 (Mourkogiannis quote)

I have a dream…a dream that involves sitting these guys:

Hazırlık COMMUNITY

…around a table (yes, the SAME table)!

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For starters, they all agree that…

Questions (Marilee Adams quote - NEW)

…and accept that:

Lunacy (Einstein quote - NEW)

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The questions they start to ask themselves are not ‘rocket science’:

3 FQs (purpose)

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but they are ‘important’:

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What is SUCCESS and OUR BUSINESS

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…so much more important than mere ‘prestige’ or ‘status’ …or ‘wall decoration’:

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What are we here to DO (2 FQs)

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These are real questions that ‘matter’ – that show a true understanding of what quality education is all about:

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Broken Quality (TG definition)

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…and that the journey is best undertaken by a ‘true’ communitya community of purpose! This community listens to eachother…LEARNs from eachother…and recognises that:

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Block (fingerprint quote)

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FIXing stuff in this kinda environment would be so much easier…don’t you thunk?

The ARTHUR TEST

Could it be our understanding of ‘Quality’…that is BROKEN, perhaps?

In Adult Learners, Curriculum, Educational Leadership, ELT and ELL, Our Universities, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness on 12/05/2013 at 10:38 pm

Quality (Deming quote)

If you knocked on the door of all of the 175+ institutions of ‘higher LEARNing’ (HEIs) we have here in canım Türkiyem, you’d be pushed to find ONE that would publicly disagree with the words of Jedi Quality Master Deming!

This is only natural!

Look at all the wonderful communications we find on their web-sites, the messages stuck on the side of buses and bridges, the huge one-page adverts we find in every ‘quality’ Sunday newspaper:

Marketing (HEIs)

Oh, yes…and ‘DIFFERENT’…gotta be ‘DIFFERENT’!

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I mean afterall…what parent would want to send their darling, little Arca (or Ayşe) or Dogükan (or Ali) to a university that proclaims it wants to be a pretty ‘average’ school…or worse…is prepared to wash all its dirty linen in publicfor the sake of student LEARNing!

Truth (mini ver 01)

Here’s an idea…

If you are planning to choose a university for the fruit of your loins over the next few months, why not visit and ask the schools to ‘define’ what quality means to them – seriously!

You never know…

Monkey (laughing)

…one of them might actually listen to you!

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If they do and tell you something like this

Quality (blind guys)

or even

Quality (Pirsig quote) (1)

…push them – ‘cos these schools do love their ‘smoke and mirrors’!

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If the school is ‘smart‘, they might say something like this:

Quality (Winder quote)

…these universities are pretty good at the old ‘alıntı, çalıntı and miş-gibi yapmak’ business!

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If you do get a reply like this (miracles do happen – and there might be a ‘quality team’ out there that actually does their ‘homework’), ask them how they actually assess the needs of their students and how these needs are used to develop and renew the curricular they useyou know, to align what is ‘taught’ with what students are supposed to be able to do with what they LEARN…and keep on LEARNing after they graduate!

I dare you!

Handle the truth

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If the school is an English-medium school (a HUGE ‘selling point’ for most Turkish universities), ask them how their departmental academics communicate with the hazırlık team (and ‘how often’) – to ensure that the ELL programmes at the university are relevant, meaningful and motivating.

While you are at it (and if you are feeling ‘naughty’)…you might even ask how many Deans or Heads of Department even know where the hazırlık building is…

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Then…ask them if their Senate or Mütivelli Heyeti (Board of Trustees) has any plans to:

1) Increase the number of contact hours that the teachers in hazırlık are expected to do each week!

2) Increase the average class size across their hazırlık programmes!

3) Increase the (sad, sad) salaries that most hazırlık teachers are paid!

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OK, that was a bit unfair of me…but, in my defence, my inbox is overflowing with mails from schools around the country since I started this little ‘dizi  – and they ain’t about pay increases, I’ll tell you that much!

However (and I will run down Atatürk Bulvarı…and pretty soon…İstiklâl Caddesi…naked – yes, in my birthday suit), if the Rector or Mütivelli Heyeti Başkanı (Chairman of the Board of Trustees) has not also (recently) told the Hazırlık Director at these schools to ‘get accredited’– and sharpish!

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Hey, just me…

Truth (mini ver 02)

…here!

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BTW…if I ‘disappear’ over the next few days, the first people who should be questioned are all those ‘educators’ that carry the heady title Mütivelli Heyeti Başkanı – especially the ones that have ‘interests’ in construction, furniture and paper-products, as well as anyone that owns a ‘dershane’ (yes, I know that’s a long list of suspects)!

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Don’t get me wrong…I am not against accreditation bodies or standardsquite the opposite!

I just get a little worked up when I hear schools throwing around terms like ‘Quality Assurance’‘Excellence’‘Highest Standards’…when what they are really concerned with is …

Quality (the real prizes)

…rather than LEARNing – of both the student and institutional variety!

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You see…it doesn’t really matter what a university (or hazırlık school, for that matter) says about itself!

Sorry, to burst that little bubble, guys…

What matters (and I mean really matters) is what others say about how you ‘do business’!

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What did we say many teachers and students are saying these days…something about covering a curriculum that does not exist…something about Lise 6 or 7

Factory Model TEACHing

So, tell me again…how EXACTLY will increasing teacher contact hours…improve QUALITY and STANDARDS?

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For me…

Quality (is a means)

For mereal quality is not about ‘faking-it-till-you-make-it’ by asking (and answering) dumb-ass questions

Standards (books n reading)

Standards (observation post it)

…it’s about asking powerful questions:

Standards (wrıtten curriculum)

…powerful questions that matter!

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For mereal quality is not about ‘prestige’ (or ‘beating’ the school down the road)…

Harvard and their screw up

…even our educational ‘giants’ screw up!

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For mestandards are critical:

Standards (are good)

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…but not when we regard them as:

Quality McNuggets

…to be ‘ticked off’ on some silly checklist!

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Our ‘institutions of higher LEARNing’…need to ‘get real’…they need to ‘get together’ (across the ‘whole career’ of our LEARNers – not disciplinary lines)…they need to ‘get informed’ (and really inform ‘others’ – not engage in shameless self-promotion) about what matters in allthingsquality – more, they need to ‘get consistent’!

They need a new ‘perspective’ on quality…and this requires a wee ‘shift’

Quality Perspective (having vs taking)

or two:

Shift (culture of learning)

or three

Shift (transformation)

or four

Shift (creativity)

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Just.. 

Truth (mini ver 02)

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But…but…Tony:

Joker (Why So Serious)

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Well, we have to get it right with allthingsquality

Broken Quality (TG definition)

…and you can take that to the IMF!

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But, hey…what the hell do I know?

My citation index in the field of allthingsengineering is pretty crap – and, worse than that…I’ve never owned a software firm…or…construction company!

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but...

ONE thing I do know

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Canım Türkiyem

Why “SMART Goals” are just “plain DUMB”…

In Classroom Teaching, Educational Leadership, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness, Teacher Learning on 30/12/2012 at 2:46 pm

…especially for TEACHers heading into…

2013 (new year)

The New Year is “nigh”…and my inbox has been filling up with notifications to check out the latest “Top 10 List of 2012” and…a few, just a few, posts on best practice in “goal-setting” for 2013.

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OMG (TG ver 4 blog)

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I say only a “few” posts on goals and targets because…well, it seems more than a few of us are more interested in “looking back” than “looking forward”. Maybe, that’s all part of the “quiet reflection” needed to get us to the “effective action” that Peter Drucker (and Shelly Terrell) were talking about this morning.

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Both Shelly and Uncle Pete are right – we can all “grow through REFLECTion”

but...

…it is “looking forward” and the “effective action” we plan for 2013 that is the key.

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Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 11.50.06

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This is why I was so keen to look at these posts on “goal setting” – especially, all that “SMART goal-setting” EDUfolk are talking about.

Now, if you are not up-to-speed on goal-setting – it’s all about PLANNING.

Horrid word!

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But, in practice, many supporters of “goals” also try to flog their wares by telling us that the process of goal-setting allows us to:

Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 11.55.29

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…while also reminding us that:

Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 11.55.06

Funny that! None of my dreams (ever) come with a deadline

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The “SMART” version of goal-setting is all about doing that PLANNINGRIGHT”!

Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 11.53.27

Yani, if you do not “plan RIGHT”…you are “plain DUMB”!

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Am I really? Shirously? You’ll be “asking” for something soon…good luck with that!

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SMART is an acronym (an acronym we, in EDUcation, “borrowed” from the world of “busyness”).

“Busyness?” – yes, just hold that thunk for a second or three!

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…an acronym that is more fully spelled out in this way:

Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 11.51.21

OK – …the “realistic” is often swapped around for “relevant” (and “time-bound” is frequently selected over “timely“)…but that’s just the small stuff we do not need to “sweat” too much!

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Some “smartyER pants” have even done this:

Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 11.51.41

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…but you get the “BIG picture”‘ yes?

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Ne se…the “logic” goes like this: if we develop our goals or targets in line with the letters of this lovely little acronym, we will all become more “productive”more “effective”more “successful” (mış mış, yani)!

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Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 11.54.33

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For example, these are not  SMART goals:

  • I will endeavour to ensure that I LISTEN to my kids and help them all “love” LEARNing in all its wonderful shapes and forms!
  • I am gonna make sure that I “really, really” LEARN my kids how to SPEAK…this semester…in just 15 hrs!

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Actually, on second thunks – that 2nd thunk “is” pretty SMART!

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BUT…it is goals like this that really get an EDUmanager’s juices “flowing”:

  • I will hit my weekly pacing guidelines EVERY day and ensure 97% of my kids pass their weekly grammar tests – and go on to ace the end-of-year proficiency examination (at the end of the year, yani)!

OK – the language might be a bit “off”but the warm, tingly sensation that this SMART goal will give “rise” to will stick around longer than…

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Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 11.58.52

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RUBBISH!

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…it simply does not work as the “manual” outlinesespecially for TEACHers!

And, to add insult to injury…ends up being nothing more than “busywork” (..makes sense now, yes? Even if it was not just a couple of seconds) handed down from EDUmanagement to EDUpractitioners that, more often than not, allows the aforementioned manager to “tick” a box somewhere!

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I mentioned Pete Amca earlier…for a reason…two…actually:

Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 13.22.33

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…He was a lot SMARTer than many EDUmanagers these days – especially those that “read-a-book-and-tell-the-world” – or (worse) – “read-a-blog-post-and-jump-without-thunking”!

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This is why I “dropped” this whole idea of “SMARTness” in my goal-setting a few years back.

Nowadays, I sez this:

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Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 11.48.20

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A wee idea I “stole” from Mark Murphy – another “business” (not “busyness”) guy!

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Scary?

YES (red exlam tilted)

Not at all!

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Go onhave a “guess” what this little acronym stands for (don’t scroll down)!

Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 13.37.05

I said…DON’T SCROLL DOWN! I asked nice

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Now, check it with your “team” (or online PLN)…you have 3 minutes!

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Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 12.05.20

Isn’t that first one so much better than “specific”?

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I won’t mention “measurable“…promise! But, that “animated” one sounds kinda cool, too. Click HERE to take a closer look at all the others.

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Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 11.54.10

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We all know that…

Screen Shot 2012-12-30 at 13.57.28

Don’t we?

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We also “know” that:

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TEACHing and LEARNing

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…despite the fact that many of our institutions are doing their bestest to knock the “challenge” out of what we “do” – and the “creativity” of those that we do “it” with!

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This is why we need to bring the “H” and “A” together with the “R” and “D” – in all we do…especially in any goal-setting we might do for 2013-14!

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LEARNing Monkey (Abigail Adams quote TG ver)

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I think this is why I like Shelly’s (no….did not forget her) “30 Goals Challenge for EDUcators” – take a look…not a SMART goal in sight…but lots of “dreams”lots of “inspiration”….and….lots of the RIGHT things to “do” across 2013…and into 2014, too!

Yes…some of them are “hard“, sure…but the HARDer the BETTER!

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Thank You (road sign)

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This is (probably) the last post of 2012 for moi…yes, Nazli Hanim (aka the “missuz”) has just confirmed this!

So it is probably the right time to THANK YOU ALL for your continued support of allthingslearning…but, more importantly, to wish YOU and YOURS…nothing but the BEST as we step into 2013!

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Keep up the good fight!

If we DON’T…who WILL?

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The Cornerstones of TEACHer LEADership

In Classroom Teaching, Educational Leadership on 07/05/2012 at 5:16 pm

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This morning, as I was doing a bit of surfing (you know, the virtual type), I popped into one of my favourite teacher sitesVenspired (from Krissy Venosdale aka @ktvee).

I saw the first few lines of her latest post:

“What do you do?”

“Oh, I’m just a TEACHer.”

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OMG! This is not the Krissy I have come to know and lovehang on, the next line read:

Have you ever said that? It’s only true if you believe it.

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That’s better – take a look at the full post – then, come back!

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Didn’t you just love what her little “World Changer” did? Didn’t you just love the LEADership her little “World Changer” demonstrated…and how that made Krissy feel?

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Palmer QUOTATION - Circle of Trust

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A few weeks ago, I was running a session with a group of trainers-in-training – and we wandered into the whole area of teacher LEADership.

This was not really planned…at all!

One of the participants said she was a bit uncomfortable referring to herself as a “LEADer”.

“I’m not a leader…I’m just a TEACHer…who wants to be a TRAINer!”

She told me.

Many of the other participants agreed.

I stopped the session…we had hit a “LEARNing moment…but I wasn’t ready for it!

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Luckily there was a “phone box” in the room (my hard-drive – with a few rough notes on it).

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In 1989, a bunch of LEADership gurus / boffins decided to set up a series of what they called the “Leadership Masterclass” – the first one was led by John Gardner and he outlined his views on what LEADership was all about…

  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Assertiveness
  • Capacity to motivate people
  • Courage and resolution
  • Decisiveness
  • Eagerness to accept responsibility
  • Intelligence and action-orientated judgment
  • Need for achievement
  • Physical vitality and stamina
  • Self-confidence
  • Skill in dealing with people
  • Task competence
  • Trustworthiness
  • Understanding of followers and their needs

Isa, Meryem and Yusef…no wonder so few educators have the kahunas to refer to themselves as a “LEADer” – the “Man of Steel” himself would struggle to fit into those tights and cape!

And, YES…I did have to place that text onto that image very strategically!

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Fast forward 20 years (to 2009), the Masterclass boffins invited someone very different to speak to them. This speaker gave a much shorter definition of what matters in allthingsleadership:

  • Trust
  • Talent development
  • Openness and honesty
  • Learning from experience

That speaker was an EDUcatorSir Roy Anderson (ex-Rector of Imperial College, London)…

These were the two definitions I pulled off my harddrive…as part of this impromptu session.

I split the group in half and told each group to decide (in terms of the “definition” I had given them) whether they were LEADers – or not.

Do I need to tell you…really…what happened?

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Many of us today still operate with “Superman model” of LEADership – and we forget that even little children can be “World Changers”.

The “Superman model” is also still very much based on “formal roles” – and this is one of the reasons we are often so disappointed with our “educational managers”. How does that old phrase go – “not all LEADers are managers, not all managers are LEADers”!

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As Max Weber suggested, more of us need to start focussing on “acts of LEADership” (rather than “LEADers”). When we do this, we start to see that it is not only senior administrators that “do” LEADership

When we look at what LEADership is (through the eyes of an educator – like Sir Roy)…we begin to see that all TEACHers can (and should) be LEADers LEADers that are frequently only limited by what they believe about themselves…and what they do with those beliefs when they are with their own future “World Changers”.

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So, here’s the deal – this is a set of thunks of what matters in Sir Roy’s definition of LEADership

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If we look at this definition, we start to see a number of cornerstones

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SERVICE 

As another great man said (I have forgiven him for his unLEARNing rubbish):

Educators (along with nurses) are perhaps some of the most important “servant LEADers” we have on the planet – and we don’t have to “work at” as hard as those in other sectors. The whole purpose of education should be to help create an army of “World Changers” – as Greenleaf noted:

So, tell me again why we focus so much on “standarised tests”?

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CARE 

One of my favourite “World Changers” can be seen in the movie  Pay It Forward (yes, I do love the “boy genius” and old Kevin and the lovely Helen – and, remember that Kevin Spacy played a TEACHer in this movie).

If a “kid” can work out that he can touch 4,782,969 people in two weeks, and school managers can’t – we have got something seriously wrong in the “adult world”.

Caring for others is perhaps the best way to breathe life in to the role of the servant LEADer . This really comes out in the work of Mayeroff (1971) – who  defined care as “helping another grow and actualize himself…a process, a way of relating to someone” that involves development by

  • “being with” another
  • “being for” another
  • “being there” for another

All great TEACHers “get” this – so do many “World Changers”…

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ETHICS

I think it was Albert Schweitzer that said, “The first step in the evolution of ethics is a sense of solidarity with other human beings”.

Sometimes, especially in the world of business, we forget this:

Peter Koestenbaum hit a home run when he said true LEADership:

…is empathy, which means service. It’s an attitude of love and compassion, of caring, of including people, of valuing them, of hearing them, or suffering when they suffer, and of being proud when they succeed.

Education is about “moral purpose” – a notion best explained by Micheal Fullan:

Moral purpose of the highest order is having a system where “all students learn, the gap between high and low performance becomes greatly reduced, and what people learn enables them to be successful citizens and workers in a morally based knowledge society” (The Moral Imperative of School Leadership, 2003)

It’s often said that LEARNers pick up more from who their TEACHers “are” – than what they “TEACH”. Ethics matter!

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PRINCIPLES

 We all know that trends may come and fads will go but:


Covey talks about “true north” principles in his 7 Habits:

  • Habit 1: Be Proactive
  • Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
  • Habit 3: Put First Things First
  • Habit 4: Think Win/Win
  • Habit 5: Seek First to Understand
  • Habit 6: Synergize
  • Habit 7: Sharpening the Saw

Then he gave us “Habit 8”:

  • Habit 8: Find Your Voice & Inspire Others to Find Theirs

I have not met many people who go wrong when they “live” these types of principles. And, that last one is how we co-create more “World Changers”!

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LEARNing (the final, but most important, cornerstone)

Did you forget the name of the blog you are reading? Sir Roy didn’t forget it…the best LEADers don’t either.

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Emotional Literacy for Educators – the 12-step programme!

In Adult Educators, Classroom Teaching, Educational Leadership on 05/04/2012 at 10:45 am

In a recent post I talked about the idea of Emotional Literacy – one of the core human literacies that drive great TEACHing and also great educational leadership.

Some people call it Emotional Intelligence (EQ or EI), educational leaders often use the term “Conscious Leadership” – I prefer to think of it as the “people STUFF” in LEARNing and TEACHing.

Call it what you will…it is here to stay! And, as a concept, it is attracting more and more interest in education as we all get to grips with balancing the “digital literacies” (and fluencies) of the 21st Century with the “human literacies” that are the very foundation of good LEARNing and TEACHing.

In an earlier post, I told you that Tom Peters believes that the world today needs “leaders” who:

OK , I might re-name that 6th one – “LEARN, LEARN, LEARN”!

You know me so well…

 

For me, all TEACHers are LEADersand Uncle Tom puts his finger on all the major elements that TEACHer LEADers (and their school LEADers) really need to emphasise as they work with 21st Century students. If we do not walk-the-talk, how can we expect our students to even LEARN the talklet alone “walk” it!

The internet is today awash with advice for 21st Century Educational Leaders – these leaders are not only 21st Century Learning Specialists, they are also:

These ideas are also reflected in the work of educators like Marcy Shankman and Scott Allen – who believe that all leaders (and there are many all over our schools and colleges) need to think more about their own “consciousness”:

 

…if we are to do the same with our LEARNers!

 

This notion of Conscious Leadership has also been around for some time.

Deepak Chopra tells us we are beginning to see, thanks to information technology (those damn computers, again!), a paradigm shift from a material worldview to a consciousness-based worldview. This makes a great deal of sense – after all:

  • What is consciousness, if not information and energy that has become alive with self-referral? In other words, consciousness is information that responds to feedback, which is also information.

This self-referred information, if applied to “what matters”, supports the process of “consciousness” becoming “intelligence” – and even more LEARNing.

 

This, in essence, is what we teachers call “reflective savvy”:

– the very process of what we all do to improve what we do with what we know and understand about LEARNing and TEACHing and adapt or transform ourselves as educators…yes, I know – a mouthful!

 

Being a great TEACHer in the 21st Century, to go back to Marcy Shankman and Scott Allen, is not just about the “tech” – it is not even just about LEARNing and TEACHing practice in the classroom (“virtual” or not). Though, I have to admit, the whole idea of LEARNacy is probably on a par with these:

It’s essentially about exercising our Emotional Literacy “muscle” – knowing and understanding more about our SELF, our OTHERS and our CONTEXT…and being “savvy” on the INTRAPERSONAL, INTERPERSONAL and ENVIRONMENTAL levels, too.

And…how we critically apply this knowledge to all our EDU understandings:

 

So, how should we exercise this muscle – to make it more emotionally intelligent and make ourselves more emotionally literate?

 

A while back, I tried to develop a “12-Step Plan” to help teachers set up their own D-I-Y professional development process (if their schools were not helping them out as much as they should).

I thought I’d try the same for Emotional Literacy:

STEP 1 – Read, learn and discuss more about emotional intelligence and conscious leadership (book learnin’ be good – sharing be better)!

STEP 2 – Know thyself (and know “others” and “context” more)! This needs a couple more steps…

STEP 3 – Try to become more aware of your own “emotional style”. Ask yourself – What do I do in more emotional situations? How do I try to avoid discomfort? What do I know about the emotions of those I work with (and how do I know this)? What role do emotions play in my institution (and how do I know this)?

STEP 4 – Get to know yourself better by trying out a few of the many EQ assessment tools you can find nowadays – to understand your strengths and “soft spots” a bit more. Be careful – there is a lot of “rubbish” on the web!

STEP 5 – Focus on your own “listening skills” as a priority – listen in to others (and yourself) and see what lessons you can learn from feelings and emotions. And, remember “listening is often the best way to get your point across”!

STEP 6 – Be the change you want to see in your leadership style (OK – slight modification on what Gandhi told us) and work to increase positive feedback to yourself (and those around you) and increase your appreciation of others (try counting how many times you say “thank you” – each day)!

STEP 7 – Just do it! 

STEP 8 – Start small, begin slowly and focus on doing a few things “differently” and “well” (Rome was not built in a day…)!

STEP 9 – Don’t use technology – remember what we said; the people “stuff” (and LEARNing) is not about the hardware, the software, or the webware…it’s the headware, heartware and careware!

STEP 10 – If in doubt (and you have some “spare cash”), try attending a programme on EQ (but watch out for “EQ sharks” – those buggers that read-a-book and tell-the-world). Hey, if you can do it (and we do not do this enough in education, at all) – get yourself a “coach” (but remember – you get what you pay for)!

STEP 11 – Remember “best practice” is seldom ever enough (and the attitude of “fake-it-till-you-make-it” is quickly sussed out by others) – it is, more often than not, about somebody else’s solution to somebody else’s problem. Surely, it’s better to heed what Covey tells us about the “end” and “bearing it in mind” – and look for “Next Practice” in ourselves! 

STEP 12 – Always my favourite – remember: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference…

Hey, I’m getting better at this “12-step thing”!

 

But, then again, I’m sure you have some other ideas!