June 30

What’s your decision making color?

Leaders are required to make decisions. Each decision, no matter how big or small, has an impact on the organization. It is crucial for leaders to understand their decision making color. Reflection on these colors (and their attributes) may help as you continue (or embark) on your leadership decision making  journey.

 

Opaque

main.opaque

Source: http://images.yourdictionary.com/opaque

What is opaque? According to dictionary.com, opaque is defined as “not allowing light to pass through” and “hard to understand.” Is your decision making color opaque? If you do not share information with your colleagues, make decisions without the input of others, or attempt to build WALLS between you and those impacted by the decisions, then your color is opaque.

 

Impact on Leadership – Leadership can be a lonely place, but it doesn’t have to be. Granted, there are times that you are required to make decisions because you are the leader (sans input from others) yet are you able to explain why you made a certain decision? In order to overcome being opaque, it is important to seek advice from others, build a collective efficacy where stakeholders are involved, and be able to articulate decisions once they are made. Opaque leaders are viewed as shady, untrustworthy and unapproachable. Is this how you want to be viewed?

 

Translucent

2-translucent-effect

Source: http://www.designbuild-network.com/projects/litracon/litracon2.html

What is translucent? According to dictionary.com, translucence is “permitting light to pass through, but diffusing it so that persons, objects, etc., on the opposite side are not clearly visible.” Is your decision making color translucent? If you veil your decisions in an attempt to be honest and forthright, but ensure to leave mystique in decision making (or decision articulation) you may be translucent.

 

Impact on Leadership – Leaders have a tendency to want to be an open book, but may have difficulty with truly being open. The more leaders expose, as some may fear, they more they could be criticized or questioned. Translucent decision making provides others with the appearance of being open and honest, but are unable to fully commit. Decisions, in a translucent environment, are focused on the dichotomy of open access and veiled secrecy. Although translucent leaders are more open than opaque leaders, they may struggle with allowing others to get in too close, or feel that since they are in the leadership seat, they should make the decisions.

 

Transparent

Transparency-graphic

Source: http://community.qlikview.com/blogs/ theqlikviewblog/tags/transparency

What is transparency? According to dictionary.com, transparency is, “easily seen through, recognized, or detected: transparent excuses.” Think you are transparent? If you are able to articulate your decisions in an open, public forum and allow others to see through your decisions so that all questions are answered, you are probably transparent.

 

Impact on Leadership – Those leaders seeking to be progressive, data-driven strive to be transparent. For too long, organizations (insert any and all) have had trouble “opening up the books” and allowing others to see in. Transparent leaders are able to make decisions within a shared governance paradigm, and can explain rationale on their decision making. As the graphic on transparency illuminates, it is important to have the organization climate focused on transparency. Simply put… Keep it clear, and process-centered and allow others to see everything.

 

What’s your decision making color?

June 24

Who is making a difference? I need your help!

Last summer, I set out to interview 10 connected educators. The goals was two-fold… I wanted to learn from the “best” to improve my practice of being a connected principal, and I wanted to continue paying it forward through my blog. I learned so much from those amazing educators (feel free to check out the participants below).

As I reflect on this summer, I am still pondering… Since I learned so much last summer why don’t I continue the project this summer.

So I am asking for advice…

Who is out there making a difference in the lives of students, teachers, communities, etc? Who has transcended the mundane aspects of education? Who has done something different? Who should I contact this summer for a skype interview? What can I learn from them? How are they making a difference? Please send me your suggestions… I can’t wait to hear back from you!

 

Spread the word!

2012 Summer Blogging Project Participants:

George Couros

Justin Tarte

Dwight Carter

Nerdy Teacher

Chris Wejr

Todd Whitaker  

Erin Klein 

Patrick Larkin 

Kelly Tenkly 

Jessica Johnson 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 23

In the future of education, are there boundaries?

As educators, we are on the cusp of a change that has never been experienced before. Let’s face it… for the last few hundred years education has been teacher-directed, memorization focused and even a tad bit mundane…. Not much has changed and there are scores of generations who are quite proud to utter the statement, “When I went to school….”

 

So what has changed, or what will change? Well, maybe things won’t change, per say, but there will certainly be a shift.

 

The top 5 paradigm shifts in the education of the future

 

1. Assessment

Currently, the assessment and anti-assessment movements are vying for position. It’s unlikely that the assessment machine will lose momentum because there are specific reasons for its existence, namely …. accountability. Assessments in the future, however, will differ from those currently being used as companies develop individual, technology-based measures to mark progress. Students will be assessed individually and progress will be focused on the individual. In a sense, every child will have an Individual Education Plan. How this impacts you now? Become familiar with your students interests as it relates to your curriculum. Get ahead of the curve and have students set their own goals and mark their own progress to achieving those goals.

 

2. Learning

As much as we focus on teaching, there has been a significant gap in the true understanding of how an individual “learns” information. Since there is a shift to personalized learning, be prepared to be bombarded with various learning theories that will offer solutions to the age old question… How do I learn? How this impacts you now? Familiarize yourself with the major learning theories and be able to articulate how you learn information. With that same information, develop intentional teaching methods (chances are you teach the way you learn) and allow students to teach you how they learn.

 

3. Time

The current state of education has a specific formula… time is the constant, and learning is the variable… Look for this shift to be more focused on learning as the constant and time as the variable… Increased time for school, a complete 180 degree turn from the 180 day school year. In the future, with the assistance of technology, time will no longer dominate learning. How this impacts you now? Research flipped learning and how using web 2.0 tools can extend your students learning (ie NOT more homework, but rather more chances to extend learning opportunities). It starts with you…. how do you extend your own learning beyond the school day?

 

4. High School

The high school of the future will look completely different from the typical American high school that has produced generations of graduates. Gone will be the packed hallways and kids with backpacks waiting for the bell to prompt them to their next task. As high school transforms, there will be opportunities for students to attend college earlier, vocational opportunities that will allow students to enter the “real” world much earlier. How this impacts you now? Well, if you teach High School it will be extremely important to justify your position (think beyond current state mandates such as I teach Physical Education and it is required for four years). You need to make your class/learning so important that you have a line out of your class of students wanting to get a chance to learn.

 

5. Boundaries

If social media is able to allow 24 hour, 7 days a week learning and connections, be prepared to witness the boundaries currently associated with “schooling” such as brick and mortar buildings, classrooms and compulsory requirements on time spent in the system to change. Schooling, as we know it, will look, smell and feel much different than it has been and the boundaries will be stretched beyond your current imagination. How this impacts you now? Chances are if you are reading this then you have begun (or are well on your way) to self-directed, 24/7 learning. Chances are you are also sharing this information with others and connecting with educators throughout the world. Keep it up… spread the word… changes are coming!

 

In the future of education, will there be boundaries?

June 15

Let’s talk about …. Cheese!

As I was driving into work last week, I was thinking about our final staff meeting of the school year. I had an agenda, and was fully prepared to carry out the agenda. Then I thought about all of the changes facing my school next year: Model Curriculum (NJ’s transition to the Common Core), Model Assessments (NJ’s transition to the PARCC), new teacher evaluation, new principal evaluation, increased state monitoring of student data and not to mention any other changes that we would want to address our own, unique needs. Then it hit me… A great clip to show the staff (and myself included) would be the classic video, Who Moved My Cheese? based off the book by Dr. Spencer Johnson.

 

After the clip concluded, the staff actually began to clap. In talking about the clip, I stressed that I too have had my cheese moved and that next year we will all be in the maze… together. Throughout the rest of the week, teachers referenced cheese moving…

 

As you think of next year, what cheese has been moved? How will you deal with this change? Do you have a person definition of how you deal with change?

 

 

June 1

The end is coming…

summer sunYes, the end is coming to  the 2012-13 school year. We are in our last days. We are so close….. so why does that matter?

 

I feel the traditional school year (based on the agrarian calender) is antiquated and I am not alone in this thinking. For many students we provide something they are not getting at home, or in their community… What a juxtaposition… In a few short weeks teachers and administrators will be cheering, celebrating, and making their summer plans a reality…. and many students will be sad, upset, and realizing their summer will pale in comparison to the school year. Sad isn’t it.

I certainly do not have the answers but I sure do have a lot of questions as to why we continue to follow this antiquated system.

summerlearning1-10b

– Do we make school calender decisions based on our needs, or student learning needs?

– Could we restructure the school year to build in more time for students (Currently we have 180 days beginning in September and ending in June, can we get everything accomplished during this time?)

– Does the current calender maximize student and teacher effectiveness? (I hear a LOT of chatter about burn-out during certain times of the year)

– If given the opportunity to restructure the calender, what would YOU suggest? What are some other states, countries doing to maximize their calenders?


 

Let’s discuss… I’ve got all summer 🙂