This week I wrote my philosophy of adaptation. Prior to this class, I didn’t have a philosophy of adaptation. I viewed change as something that just happens and leading others through change was something that was just done (a reaction). Through this course I have learned that how people react to change can be somewhat predictable. More importantly I have learned that there are practical strategies for successful effectively leading through transitions.
Robert Quinn said "One key to successful leadership is continuous personal change. Personal change is a reflection of our inner growth and empowerment." As I reflect this week I can honestly say that leading through change is challenging. My mentorship was hard work but was a very positive experience. Leading others through designing a new report card and grading system was much more challenging. This change was needed to help parents, teachers and students. There was a lot of people counting on me. This week I got to see all the hard work begin to pay off. On Tuesday the principal sent me the draft of the report card after it had gone to admin and it looked great. I have another meeting this week to finalize the draft.
Philosophy of Adaptation
"One key to successful leadership is continuous personal change. Personal change is a reflection of our inner growth and empowerment." — Robert E. Quinn
According to Fullan effective leaders have a moral purpose (2014). My vision statement both as a teacher, and as a leader is to create the spark for further knowledge in myself and others. The world is constantly changing. Educational technology is not immune to this fast paced change. Advancements are shaping the way teachers teach and students learn. This culture of change can be uncomfortable and overwhelming but with the right leadership a new culture can replace the fear and anxiety of change. Authors, Doug Thomas and John Seely Brown, explain that in a face of rapid change we need a new culture of learning. One in which teachers don’t have to provide the latest information because the students themselves are taking an active role in creating and molding it (Thomas & Brown, 2011).
Vision Statement Supports School’s Mission:
"Educating our children to realize their potential and contribute in a connected global society”. — Sitka School District’s Mission Statement
My vision statement supports the mission statement of the Sitka School District. In a culture of learning it is critical that students learn to contribute in a connected global society. This is not an easy task because nothing is stagnant, everything is constantly changing. Adapting to global change is not something you read from a scripted curriculum or something that is included in state standards. It requires teachers and students to adopt a new culture of learning and a growth mindset.
Carol Dweck, author of “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”, writes that we can learn to fulfill our potential by moving from a “fixed mindset” to a “growth mindset”. Dweck wrote, “For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value” (Popova). I want to help my students and others I work with to realize their potential and adapt to change. By implementing the growth mindset at the beginning of the year and I can lay a foundation of growth and adaptation that can continue beyond the walls of the classroom. I can help my students thrive on challenges of change. I can help others view failures and new obstacles as opportunities to stretch our abilities and grow.
How teachers and leaders adapt to change:
"If your action inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams
To successfully lead through change I will use the five components of leadership that author Michael Fullan said are necessary for success in leading through change. These components are interwoven and together create a framework for leadership. If I remove any of the components I could have a less stable structure for positive change.
When I am sharing with others about new technology it is always my moral purpose that drives me. I love seeing others get excited about learning. The other four components of leadership are also necessary for successful leadership. I understand change and I am flexible to change. I use relationships to foster collaborative learning. I realize that as a technology leader it’s not enough to just share information technology, I have to create the context for sharing and creating knowledge. I also know that I need to encourage change but with a clear sense of direction diminishing stress that often accompanies change. In addition to the five key components I also understand the importance of commitment and the 3 personality characteristics: enthusiasm, hope and energy.
Fullen said that “Change is a double-edged sword. Its relentless pace these days runs us off our feet. Yet when things are unsettled, we find new ways to move ahead and to create breakthroughs not possible in stagnant societies” (2014). The very nature of change means that it can be a very hard thing to lead others through.
How I plan classroom instruction to assist students in adapting to change:
“Designing a class that empowers students to become life-long learners, avid readers, and voracious seekers of knowledge, will have an impact that reverberates for a lifetime and beyond.” -Dave Burgess, Teach Like a Pirate (2012)
In my classroom I like making learning irresistible. The culture of learning is fueled by curiosity and interest. Amanda Lang, author of the book “The Power of Why” states, “Curious kids learn how to learn, and how to enjoy it – and that, more than any specific body of knowledge, is what they will need to have in the future” (Wright 2013).
A culture of learning is necessary to prepare students to compete, succeed and live in the 21st century. Today’s earning requires students to think for themselves. I want my students to take control over their learning and be at the center of their education experience. Traditional passive learning must be replaced by active learners, making informed decisions. I need to continue to have a learner-centered classroom with students as producers. I need to continue to learn new technologies and provide my students with access to new tools. I need to continue project-based learning and makerspaces. Learning in the 21st century is a continual process. It requires time and dedication but we owe it to our students and their future.
I need to adapt to change and remain current in education technology. This means that I need continuous growth. Being a leader and a technology mentor for my district is a way that keeps my 21st century skills current. My fellow teachers rely on me to share with them the latest and greatest. It requires research and work but it is rewarding. Collaborating with my colleagues allows us to bounce ideas off of each other and partner together to help each other out.
I don’t want my students to leave my classroom just being good at “school”. My classroom environment must engage learning and foster creativity and curiosity. They need to learn how to fail and succeed. They must learn how to collaborated and communicate in this global world. These strategies and overarching themes supports my moral purpose as an educator to create a culture of learning that will help them adapt to change.
Being a successful leader and helping others adapt to change requires continuous growth and personal change on my part but it is worth it. I want to get students, teachers, administers, and families excited about learning and new possibilities. Thomas and Brown (2011) say it best when they state that “Embracing change means looking forward to what will come next. It means viewing the future as a set of new possibilities, rather than something that forces us to adjust.”
Burgess, D. (2012). Teach like a Pirate: Increase student engagement, boost your creativity, and transform your life as an educator (p. 2049). San Diego, CA: Dave Burgess Consulting.
Fullan, M. (2014). Leading in a Culture of Change. Somerset, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com
Popova, Maria. "Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives." Brain Pickings RSS. Brain Pickings, n.d. <http://www.brainpickings.org/2014/01/29/carol-dweck-mindset/>.
Thomas, Douglas; Seely Brown, John (2011). A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. CreateSpace. Kindle Edition.
Wright, Shelly. "Academic Teaching Doesn’t Prepare Students for Life." Powerful Learning Practice. N.p., 07 Nov. 2013. Web. <http://plpnetwork.com/2013/11/07/obsession-academic-teaching-preparing-kids-life/>.
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