This past summer I had the privilege of collaborating with an inspiring group of educators: Lynell Powell, Rachelle Poth, Jennifer Casa-Todd, Josh Stumpenhorst, Jeff Zoul, David Geurin, Sanée Bell, Katie Martin, Danny Steele, and Senior Editor at Routledge, Lauren Davis.
We gathered for three days in Boston to write Education Write Now Volume 3: Solutions to Common Challenges in Your School or Classroom, which should be out by the end of the calendar year. All proceeds from this book will go to The Will to Live Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing teen suicide by educating them about mental health and by encouraging them to recognize that love and hope exist in the relationships we have with each other.
In the three days, each on of us was charged with writing a chapter to contribute to the book’s overall theme – addressing a common challenge in education. My chapter, titled “Elevating Instructional Leadership” focuses on what I believe are the five drivers of instructional leadership: relationships & context, knowledge & self-awareness, communication & responsiveness, planning & execution, assessment & revision.
Here’s the chapter’s introduction.
You’re a few years into your job as an administrator. You’ve been working hand-in-hand with other administrators in an attempt to promote change across your district’s handful of schools. Some of the instructional shifts have included Writing Workshop, guided reading, and project based learning. However, an objective assessment tells you, in large part: teachers don’t understand how these changes are any better than what they did previously; teachers are simply doing what they are told to do (compliance) without thinking critically for themselves; students are a bit lost because they had grown accustomed to “the old way” of doing things; building principals are constantly looking to central office for direction, especially when teachers come to them with questions and/or pushback.
If you’ve been a part of any educational organization for more than a year, chances are at least part of (if not all of) the above scenario sounds familiar. And, if you’ve ever tried to bring about change in a school, there’s also a chance you were (inadvertently) the cause of at least one of the problems described above. Bottom line: change is not easy.
Just like anything else, when things aren’t going our way we can either (1) blame others, or (2) ask ourselves what we can do differently. While the former option may be tempting, I can tell you from experience going this route typically tends to dig the hole deeper. We must look inward. According to Jim Knight, “When teachers receive an appropriate amount of support for professional learning, more than 90% of them embrace and implement programs that improve students’ experiences in the classroom.” Or, as he bluntly puts it, “Teachers do not resist change so much as they resist poorly designed change initiatives.”Teachers do not resist change so much as they resist poorly designed change initiatives. - Jim Knight Click To Tweet
Make sure to also check out excerpts from Lynell Powell, Rachelle Poth, Jennifer Casa-Todd, Josh Stumpenhorst, Jeff Zoul, David Geurin, and Sanée Bell. And, stay tuned for next week’s post from Katie Martin.
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