Sunday, 12 October 2014

Practice Drives Theory for Change Leaders @MichaelFullan1

I have had this post in draft form for a few weeks and have since completed my first essay (read more below) and am now in the process of writing another one. Yet, I am determined to still continue my blog reflections and Tweets @jennyljackson as they are helping me to stay connected and grow as a future focused learning leader.Time to share a little of my learning with you.

Read a leadership book of substance, react to this in a personal, reflective way and develop a narrative that integrates your understanding from the book with aspects of your personal and /or professional life as well as to the course literature.

This is the first assessment task in the Masters of Educational Leadership studies that I am studying part time. Since writing a sabbatical paper and creating a video focusing on engaging students in deep learning, I have been motivated to model and explore being a deep learner myself. A 'growth mindset' attitude has rekindled my love for learning and it is with passion and enthusiasm that I venture along this new learning pathway.

As with everything I  do in my work as lead learner at St Joseph's school in Oamaru, I make sure that nothing is ever done for the sake of it. There must be an authentic purpose that relates directly to enriching the lives of all learners in our school community (children, staff and families). If we truly want our young learners to 'engage in deep learning for success'  then we must be doing the same as adult learners. Hattie's evidence from a  synthesis of learning (2009) proves that the biggest effect on student learning occurs when 'teachers become learners of their own teaching and when students become their own teachers'. Visible teaching and learning by teachers and students is the key to activating deep learning for success.

One significant way that has helped me to reflect on my personal learning has been to make my learning visible and to share it with others. In doing this, it not only helps me but possibly provides a springboard for other learners to reflect on and deepen their own learning. Through sharing my reflections in this blog format, I have a transmission vehicle to give the task authenticity and thus a purpose. If through my reflections, at least one other learner has deepened or challenged their own thoughts about learning, then this task has been justified. In saying this, I'm aware that this public blog reaches out to a wider global audience, beyond our school community, such is the power of digital technology. This gives that springboard greater bounce and increases the chances for other learners to grow their thinking and motivates me to continue sharing and deepening my own thinking and learning.

Is this practice driving theory?

I chose to focus my reflections on Change Leader by Michael Fullan, a book that I have had for some time but never really given a priority in the busyness of my day to day life. However, after participating in a conference with Fullan in Melbourne 2013 and linking much of the learning in my sabbatical paper to 'A Rich Seam, How New Pedagogies in a Deep Learning'  by Fullan and Langworthy 2014, I revisited Change Leader with a renewed energy and passion and completed my first essay a few weeks ago.

I have since viewed this 8 minute video by Michael Fullan from the NZ TKI Educational Leaders site. He discusses the benefits of job-embedded professional learning and how it can be sustained. I have shared this with our staff as I believe it encapsulates much of our focus on learning and change at our school at present. I am interested in your feedback and learning (hover on the blue title below to access the video). 
Also view this short video featuring Michael Fullan talking about Learning is the Work.
In Depth with Michael Fullan

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