Leading others through change this week was very challenging for me. I ran into some disruptions, not in my mentorship but in another bigger project. I am helping the principal and staff develop a new report card. I have been using Michael Fullan’s Model for Change to lead the committee the principal organized. The first thing the committee did was agree on a moral purpose. We used it to guide our decision making. We are always referring to the moral purpose in our discussions. I have been really working on knowledge building & sharing, relationships and listening. Things were going great until each committee member broke away to share and get input from their grade-level. Three out of four of the grades had great meetings and understood the task, one grade level did not. There was breakdown in communication and understanding. As a result that grade level halted the process. I had to step in and do some coherence making. At first I was viewed by some (in that grade level) as a target because change was uncomfortable. This was very upsetting to me. I am volunteering my time so I thought maybe I should just walk away but instead I pushed through and lead through the disruptions. I worked on relationships first then on knowledge building & sharing while at the same time emphasizing the moral purpose. Interesting I discovered the source of all the discourse was an unclear understanding of the moral purpose. When teachers didn’t agree at other grade-levels they used the moral purpose to help guide them. The grade level that halted the process did not use the moral purpose to guide them and got lost so to speak. I learned a lot this week and I know it will not be the first big disruption in this process but I am going to celebrate getting through it.
Essential Question: Consider your own context within your school and with your mentee. How can understanding of controlled disruption and coherence making impact your leadership of peers at this time, and at this level?
Michael Fullan wrote, “We need leaders who can create a fundamental transformation in the learning cultures of schools and of the teaching profession itself” (2002). Education is not static. Let’s face it, education is changing. I actually feel educational institutes are often in a tough spot because there seems to be such a resistance to change in schools but at the same time there is a definite need for transformation.
You have one mindset, “What was good enough for one generation is good enough for the next” and then you have those that understand that learning in the 21st century is a continual process and requires ongoing changes. In my school there is currently a “change fatigue” from making some many changes in a short amount of time. There is also a loss of faith because the results come slowly.
Anyone who has experienced change knows that change creates messiness. Change is often rapid and nonlinear. Real change creates a transformation that is typically not possible without messiness. With all the changes we see in education today it’s no wonder it feels a little uncomfortable but it is reassuring to know that its ok. Most change is a result of a disturbance. We are human and we are going to have differences of opinion. A leader guides people through difference.
It is the role of the leader to help lead through change. Leaders have an understanding of the change process. Leaders help find collective meaning and commitment through a moral purpose. Those who lead must be coherence makers. Fullan writes that leaders “help forge coherence through checks and balances embedded in their interaction” (2002). The “process embedded in pursuing moral purpose, the change process, new relationships, and knowledge sharing do actually produce greater and deeper coherence as they unfold” (2014).
In my mentorship the coherence making was so strong that disruptions were not a big factor. My mentee and I shared a moral purpose so it was easy to use that and our strong relationship to guide us through change. The mentorship was also nice because the change was self-motivated. Had I been mentoring someone who is opposed to Minecraft or who was not willing to change I would have encountered more disruptions.
This week when I was helping lead a large number of people through a top down change, the disruptions were more frequent. Even with a common moral purpose people are human and interpret moral purposes differently. Marris wrote “All real change involves loss, anxiety, and struggle. Failure to recognize this phenomenon as natural and inevitable has meant we tend to ignore important aspects of change and misinterpret others” (Fullan, 2013). I defiantly have felt all those while trying to work through change this week. The key are the relationships when those aren’t there change becomes 10 times harder.
Fullan, M. (2002). The Change Leader. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/may02/vol59/num08/The-Change-Leader.aspx
Fullan, M. (2014, February). Leading in a Culture of Change. San Francisco, CA.
Fullan, M. 2013). The new meaning of educational change. Retrieved fromhttp://www.eblib.com
Mochari, I. (2014, June 10). The Chaos of Change: 3 Keys to Leading Through Transitions. Retrieved from http://www.inc.com/ilan-mochari/3-tips-leading-change.html
This week I continued practicing my leadership skills. Over the past couple of weeks I have really been thinking about the readings. Part of being a good leader is listening. I do a lot of leading but do I do much listening? This question has been on my mind lately. This week I really worked on the relationship and listening aspects.
Some exciting news- the superintendent brought two students from Yale by my room to observe my students “making”. The superintendent is having the Yale students create a mobile maker space and she wanted them to get some ideas. I also got the 2nd grade team on board for a grade wide spring Maker Day that I planned last summer. The superintendent was also really supportive and said it could be the launch of the district’s mobile maker space. Exciting!
Some boring news - I am taking the lead on designing our schools new report card. This has involved lots of work this year. I probably should have made this my mentor project. This week I had 3 meetings. The first meeting involved meeting one on one with the district’s gradebook official. During this meeting I gathered as much information as I could and discussed possibilities. Almost all of the teachers had expressed a desire in having our report cards simplified for parents so I ran a couple of possibilities by the district office. Once I got the ok from the district office I created several different draft layouts by combining what the teachers wanted but at the same time making sure it was in line with the district’s guidelines. The 2nd meeting involved meeting with a committee which was made up of leaders from each grade level and the principal. At this meeting I presented the drafts and asked for feedback. Based on their recommendations I did some minor adjusting. The 3rd meeting involved the entire teaching staff. During this meeting each grade level looked at the drafts and again offered feedback. The principal then sent our draft to the other schools.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: What is the role of knowledge creation and sharing in a healthy educational organization?
I believe educational organization should foster a culture of knowledge sharing. Education organizations have similar moral purposes. The ultimate goal is greater than any one individual whether it be a student, teacher or administrator. Education or rather knowledge is meant to be shared.
David Skyrme, in his article, “The 3 C’s of Knowledge Sharing: Culture, Co-opetion, and Commitment” (2002) lists some of the common reasons that prevent sharing: the perception that knowledge is power, pride and not wanting to seek advice from others, not wanting to discover new ways for themselves, not realizing how useful particular knowledge is to others, lack of trust and lack of time. Educational organizations should excel at knowledge sharing but that’s not always the case. By changing the culture around knowledge some of these barriers can be overcome.
One of the best ways to encourage a culture of knowledge creation and sharing is by involving everyone. When all members feels like their knowledge is respected, and valued a positive culture can thrive. Creating communities in education that foster this are rooted in trust and respect not only in the members but also in the leadership. Team-building challenges and working towards united goals can also help.
Another way to encourage sharing is through the use of role models. It is important to celebrate each other’s strengths. We can all bring something to the table. Sometimes we do a good job doing this in small circles of collaboration but it is also important to involve others outside our close circles.
Education organizations are founded on the creation and sharing of knowledge yet we often lack the time and commitment to apply the same process to our professional learning growth. What we require of our students is suddenly not practical with ourselves. The creation of knowledge is important but equally so, what you do with that knowledge. Education organization should be looking at knowledge management like businesses. We should be collaborating, sparking innovations, and promoting ever-higher performances.
I crave knowledge. I love learning. I hope there never comes a day were I stop seeking new knowledge. My weak area is time. There just so much to learn and so little time. I am very thankful to social media that allows me to connect and gather tidbits of information.
Fullan, Michael. Leading in a Culture of Change. Somerset, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2014. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 6 November 2015.
Petrides, Lisa, and Thad Nodine. "ERIC - Knowledge Management in Education: Defining the Landscape., 2003-Mar." ERIC - Knowledge Management in Education: Defining the Landscape., 2003-Mar. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2015. <http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED477349>.
Rismark, Marit. "From Knowledge Sharing to Knowledge Creation: A Blended Knowledge-management Model for Improving University Students’ Creativity." From Knowledge Sharing to Knowledge Creation: A Blended Knowledge-management Model for Improving University Students' Creativity. ResearchGate, 19 Jan. 2015. Web. 12 Nov. 2015. <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1871187112000430>.
Skyrme, David. "The 3Cs of Knowledge Sharing: Culture, Co-opetition and Commitment." The 3Cs of Knowledge Sharing. N.p., Aug. 2002. Web. 12 Nov. 2015. <http://www.skyrme.com/updates/u64_f1.htm>.
This week I wrapped up my grades and parent teacher conferences for the 1st Trimester of the school year. It was a busy week. On Wednesday between parent conferences, I was interviewed by Michael Winters for a podcast on EdSurge. I feel very honored to have been a part of the same podcast as Joel Levin. How cool is that?? Joel Levin!! The creator of MinecraftEdu!! Those that know me, know that I am very shy and prefer to stay away from cameras and microphones but when it comes to something that I am passionate about like using Minecraft in the classroom I can’t help myself. I put myself out there because I want others to know how they can make learning irresistible. Less than a year ago someone was willing to take the time to show me MinecraftEdu and it forever transformed my teaching now I feel obligated to kids around the world to spread the word to teachers. On a side note in my classroom research class I just did my data analysis and my data shows that playing MinecraftEdu in the classroom improves attendance.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: Explain and give examples to argue why the following statement is true or false: “Get the right people on your team, and get the wrong ones off.”
“Get the right people on your team, and get the wrong ones off” is a good strategy for success but you must remember to invest in a diversity of team players. A team full of like-minded people may mean that things run smoothly at first, but opportunities for growth and overall success could be jeopardized. “All successful organizations in a culture of change have been found to a certain extent to seek diversity of employees, ideas, and experiences while simultaneously establishing mechanisms for sorting out, reconciling, and acting on new patterns (see Lewin & Regine, 2000, and Pascale et al., 2000).”
Schools need leaders who help develop a culture of understanding that brings members together to help students. Michael Fullan, in his book “Leading in a Culture of Change” points out that quality leadership is about “enhancing the skills and knowledge of people in the organization, creating a common culture of expectations around the use of those skills and knowledge, holding the various pieces of the organization together in a productive relations with each other and holding individuals accountable for the contributions to the collective result” (2014).
Fullan states “It should come as no surprise then the most effective leaders are not the smartest in the IQ sense but are those who combine intellectual brilliance with emotional intelligence” (2014). Effective leaders not only work on their emotional development but they help others with their emotional development as well. In a culture of change there will always be people who have differences of opinions but quality leadership welcomes diversity. Resistance and disagreement can be seen as a possible source of new ideas and breakthroughs.
However, I also believe that if a person is unwilling to grow and work towards the moral purpose of the team then they need to find another team. Jim Collins in his article, “Good to Great”, points out that successful leaders start with the ”who” they want to have on their team before they even decide the “where”. He writes “You are a bus driver. The bus, your company, is at a standstill, and it’s your job to get it going. You have to decide where you're going, how you're going to get there, and who's going with you.” He writes, David Maxwell CEO of Fannie Mae when hired to rescue the company told his management team “that there would only be seats on the bus for A-level people who were willing to put out A-plus effort.” (Collins, 2011)
Judy Malan writes in her article “Get the right People on the team (and the wrong ones off)” that “determining the membership of a team is frequently the most powerful lever that a leader can use to shape its performance” (2011). She goes on to say that some leaders fail to do this early enough while others fail to do this at all. The key is being clear about the moral purpose. “Ensuring that the right people are on the team requires conscience attention and courage from the team leader; without these, the team might not be able to deliver.” (Malan, 2011)
As a leader I want the right team. I want “A-level’ people, who put out A-level effort on my team. I do not want a team full of quarterbacks. On my team I want diversity and members who believe in a common moral purpose.
Collins, J. (2011, October). Good to Great. Retrieved November 6, 2015, from http://www.jimcollins.com/article_topics/articles/good-to-great.html
Fullan, Michael. Leading in a Culture of Change. Somerset, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2014. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 6 November 2015.
Lewin, R., & Regine, B. (2000). The soul at work. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Malan, J. (2011, October 4). Get the right people on the team (and the wrong ones off). Retrieved November 6, 2015, from http://www.managementexchange.com/blog/get-right-people-team-and-wrong-ones
Pascale, R., Millemann, M., & Gioja, L. (2000). Surfing the edge of chaos. New York: Crown Business Publishing.
This week was a very stressful week for the staff of my school. I was contracted to train and help people through the change. Not an easy task. On Friday, my school had a work day to complete and enter grades.
The first change, currently we have no report card because our grading system changed. Second, we are grading on common core standards this year. The third change, we had to setup up the common core standards in our LMS gradebook. Fourth, we have to enter our grades in our new LMS which people are uncomfortable with. The fifth change, teachers have to save and print their own reporting sheets to give to parents because we don’t have a report card. Sixth, we changed our rubric.
On Friday I used the full range of leadership styles as I moved from classroom to classroom helping people. I even had to use “commanding” style a couple times when there was an urgent situation and the other methods weren’t working. I would say that many times I was using “affiliative” and “pacesetting” leadership styles and I was trying help people get through their negative emotions about the changes but at the same time get them to where they needed to be. Early in the morning I used “democratic” and “visionary” as I met with the administrator and a few others come up with a better plan for the future. Normally I do a lot of “coaching” but in this situation most of my coaching had come in the days and weeks prior, during training.
The last couple days have been rough. I know I helped a lot of people get to where they needed to be but I don’t feel good about the situation. I did my best with my part and I am trying to help fix things for next trimester.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.