“The Hogwarts House System is the mystical world’s equivalent of residential learning communities….At Hogwarts, the simple premise is that students learn best in an environment that builds on their strengths and individual characteristics. However, Hogwarts also stresses learning from others and respect for difference.”
— “Hogwarts –The Learning Community;” About Campus, Levine & Shapiro, 2000, p.10 (from Faculty Learning Communities)
How can I be a catalyst for changing education from a 19th Century factory model to a 21st Century model focused on developing globally aware learning and thinking skills?
That is the question that drives me, as an educator and leader.
My beliefs as an educator and leader drive my actions:
- Practice what you preach… it’s too easy to say how we are, or will be. Actually walking the talk is the challenge (and the sense of satisfaction, when you do).
- Take risks… we learn from our failures as well as our successes.
- .. care deeply. Care about others. Care about the work I do.
- .. listen to others, build consensus and help others become better. This builds capacity in an ethical, caring manner.
- Start by building relationships and community. Synergy comes from diverse strengths.
- Believe that learning is a never-ending journey. We ALL bring something to the table, we can ALL learn… differentiation is the key.
I envision a learning community that engages in reflective self-discovery and embraces curiosity and creativity. This community strives to develop universally applicable, relevant and meaningful skills in a thoughtful and ethical manner.
I’m a risk-taker, focused on lifelong-learning and empowerment for me and those around me. I also care, deeply. Complacency has no resonance for me. Collaboration is extremely important to me; which makes trust-building essential. I embrace Tschannen-Moran’s (2004) five facets of trust: Benevolence, Honesty, Openness, Reliability and Competence – good management is a healthy by-product of operationalizing those facets. I believe that trust is a precondition for healthy, positive, cooperative and reliable relationships. It requires constant tending to but allows for a synergy in which learning (for all) and empowerment happens seemingly effortlessly.
In terms of what I can offer to an organization, as a leader, I rely heavily on my ability to see the big picture. Since organizations exist as multiple realities, a useful tool that I employ is that of the “Four Frames”. Bolman and Deal (2008) make a good point when they point out that “any event can be framed in several ways and serve multiple purposes.” (p.313) The ability to recognize that and work to create a workplace that has structures in place that align “roles and responsibilities to fit tasks”; maintains “a balance between human needs and formal roles”; provides “opportunities for individuals and groups to make interests known”; and, allows stakeholders to collaboratively “develop symbols and shared values”, is an effective practice that integrates those Four Frames (Bolman and Deal, pp.311-315).
“If we want to create a workplace that values idealism, human connection, and real, in depth learning, we will have to create it ourselves”.
– Peter Block (from Leading and Learning for the 21st Century)
It should be clear what my educational philosophy is. Believing in establishing an empowered community of learners requires respect for differences, global-mindedness, positive expectations for all and ethical standards. As Harris and Hopkins (1997) posit, evaluation is a responsibility that all stakeholders share. Barth (1990), Green (n.d.) and Fullan (1992) all do an excellent job of identifying additional characteristics like community, collaboration, trust and responsibility that are necessary for an organization to provide an exceptional education; of which I also subscribe to.
We are responsible for our workplace environment and it is only us, together, who can create the positive atmosphere necessary for human connection and in-depth learning to occur.Published: May 21, 2009
Barth, Roland S. (1990, March). A Personal Vision of a Good School. Phi Delta Kappan. 512-516.
Bolman, Lee G., & Deal, Terrence E. (2008). Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, and Leadership.San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Cox, Milton (n.d.). Faculty Learning Communities: Inspirational Quotes. Retrieved May 12, 2009, from Developing Faculty and Professional Learning Communities (FLCs) to Transform Campus Culture for Learning Web site: http://www.units.muohio.edu/flc/other_info/quotes.php
Hammond, Bruce (2002). Famous Quotes: Educational quotes for the 21st Century. Retrieved May 12, 2009, from Leading and Learning for the 21st Century Web site:
Harris, Alma and David Hopkins (1997).Improving the quality of education for all. Support for Learning. 12 (4), 147-151.
Fullan, Michael G. (1992, Feb).Visions That Blind. Educational Leadership. 49(5), 19-20.
Green, Edward E. (n.d.). About AAIE. Retrieved May 7, 2009, from Association for the Advancement of International Education Web site: http://www.aaie.org/podium/default.aspx?t=109210
Revised: 28 August, 2014