“If people could only see what we do, they would realize we are modern day superheroes wearing the Clark Kent disguise of teacher” (Burgess, Loc 1832).
“…Moral purpose cannot just be stated, it must be accompanied by strategies for realizing it, and those strategies are the leadership actions that energize people to pursue a desired goal.” (Fullan, 2002, pg. 19) My “moral purpose” is to teach students how to use the resources around them to become productive members in society. It guides my vision statement, which is encompassed by my philosophy of Adaptation. The vision I have in mind is to be able to provide my students with the ability to find the resources they need in order to obtain whatever information they need in their current situation. We can only teach them so much, and supply them with a limited amount of resources. But to teach them to be able to go out and find the right resources to suit their needs is a lifetime gift that will never expire.
“…in the new culture of learning the point is to embrace what we don’t know, come up with better questions about it, and continue asking those questions in order to learn more and more…” (Thomas & Brown, 2011, p. 38). By guiding them through questioning we get them accustom to inquiry based learning. The more they feel comfortable with using this approach the better suited they will be to tackle difficult situations that arise. These building blocks help to build the confidence in each student we teach.
Letting students play can have a huge effect on their growth as well. Their interest in the subject matter increases when they are able to play rather than just read and write about it. Kids are more likely to research what they are interested in, so if we have them play during and after they have researched a subject it tends to be more productive. An example of this is having students play with Minecraft. “The way we play games mirrors how we act in real life” (Edtechteacher, 2014). Letting them play can really facilitate the desire to learn more. When they are interested in what they are doing they are more willing to put the effort into their product. Hopefully this will help them to see that there are multiple ways to learn and if they come up to something very difficult they can find an easier way to approach it, through play.
In order to facilitate this type of learning environment we need to have a strong leadership that can create a positive school environment for students, teachers and any other person who walks into the building. Creating this type of atmosphere requires a lot of work. The following are the six leadership styles Goleman identified (2000, pp. 82– 83):
- Coercive— the leader demands compliance. (“Do what I tell you.”)
- Authoritative— the leader mobilizes people toward a vision. (“Come with me.”)
- Affiliative— the leader creates harmony and builds emotional bonds. (“People come first.”)
- Democratic— the leader forges consensus through participation. (“What do you think?”)
- Pacesetting— the leader sets high standards for performance. (“Do as I do, now.”)
- Coaching— the leader develops people for the future. (“Try this.”) (Fullen, 2014, p 35)
You need to understand each style in order to use them as they are needed. This allows leaders to use the proper style for the proper situation that arrives. Leaders are not going to make everyone happy, but if they can be fair, organized, decisive, and willing to be open to opinions then they can create an environment which can please most and lift morale.
Our leaders need to be able to look at what is going on in the school and make any changes that are necessary to ensure what is best for our students. “Careful teacher selection ensures that the school is populated by gifted educators who balance their deep caring for students and respect for families with a demand for excellence and autonomy” (2010, Doll). If there are divided bodies within the building who don’t all share a common philosophy then there is a lot of discourse which may be harmful to the positive school atmosphere. We need to be supportive of our fellow teachers and leaders and continue to communicate openly in a positive manner. Only when this happens are we, as a school wide community better able to adapt to change.
Burgess, D. (2012). Teach like a Pirate: Increase student engagement, boost your creativity, and transform your life as an educator. San Diego, CA: Dave Burgess Consulting.
Doll, B. (2010, December). Positive School Climate. National Association of Secondary School Principals. Retrieved from http://www.nassp.org/Content.aspx?topic=Positive_School_Climate
Edtechteacher. (2014). Use the Four Gamer Types to Help Your Students Collaborate-from Douglas Kiang on Edudemic. Retrieved from http://edtechteacher.org/use-the-four-gamer-types-to-help-your-students-collaborate-from-douglas-kiang-on-edudemic/
Fullan, M. (2002, September). The Pressing Goal is to Infuse Spiritual Force Into All Educators. The School Administrator Web Edition. Retrieved fromhttp://www.unrwa.org/userfiles/file/leading_4_the_future/module1/Moral%20purpose%20writ%20large%20Fullan.pdf
Fullan, M. (2014, February). Leading in a Culture of Change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass (pp. 31-50).
Thomas, D, & Brown, J. S., (2011). A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. Charleston, SC: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.