Wednesday 8 August 2018

Future of Education

A site like Khan academy really is helping teachers take a flipped approach to learning. While there is a lot of great content out there on the web, it is important that teachers don't just send their students to links. It must be relevant and tailored to the needs of the class. I find that teachers like myself are actually creating videos for the lessons that are specific for their students and posting them online on a class site. This becomes a resource site that students can then rely on throughout their entire unit/year and refer back to it when necessary. 
The idea of flipped learning is for students to watch the videos at home so they have an understanding of the content when they enter the classroom and then inside the class the knowledge is pushed further through application, experience and discussion. It also depends on your students though and their available technology at home. For a private school, this likely will be a system of learning that could be easily used. However, if students are from less fortunate public schools, they likely will not have access to the technology at home to do this pre-learning. 

Sunday 9 April 2017

Topic 3 Discussion

Read the analysis that we have supplied on e-reserve for you and note conclusions about the nature of moral judgements which resonate with you.Describe the characteristics which comprise your sense of your moral intuition at this point in time
In the case mentioned, there was a want to silence freedom of expression that did not align with the goals and thoughts of the organisation with the thought that it was damaging to the school. This makes me think of who’s ethics are we using when making decisions and what are we willing to sacrifice to do it? Thus it is important that leaders and followers have a shared mission and vision that all work towards.
I think that freedom of expression and thought should always be allowed provided that it is done in a respectable manner (following the Golden Rule (Strike, Haller & Solitis, 2005, p.17). It would seem challenging as a school leader to constantly have to reflect on whether the decisions follow the Principle of Benefit Maximization.
Characteristics of my moral intuition:
  • Commit to being a voice for social justice and represent underrepresented or poorly represented perspectives
  • Lead with integrity, reliability and honesty
  • Be professional in actions and words
These have been adopted because of experiences, family influence and colleagues to help define my own morals.
Strike, K., E. J., Haller, J. F., & Soltis (2005). The Ethics of School Administration(pp.7 – 20; 37-44; 60-64; 81-85; 109-115). New York: Teachers College Press.

Saturday 8 April 2017

Professional Codes of Conduct

Typically, Professional Codes of Conduct applying to educators are developed by educators through their professional association – such as a college of teachers or teacher’s association – and prescribe minimum standards of professional conduct for members. Analyse the Code of Conduct for Educators which is operational within your professional setting in relation to the characteristics noted above.
For the purpose of this, I will use the Ontario College of Teachers which is where my teaching certification was initially registered.
The following are the ethical standards for the teaching profession that are used to inspire teachers to be reflective and guide their ethical decision making and actions (OCT, 2017). 

It is important that educators have a genuine care for students wellbeing and should be vested in the interest of making decisions with this in mind.

Educators should be respectful of others and treat others as they wish to be treated. This is part of the consequentialist ethical theory using the golden rule.  

The school community needs to be able to trust you to be an upstanding citizen and honest educator. School leadership needs to be able to believe that you will do your job to the best of your abilities. Trust is built on relationships and therefore teachers should work to construct positive relationships with other stakeholders in the community.

While all decisions do not need to always be agreed upon and you may not be friends with everyone in your educational environment, I believe integrity is key to being a good educator. Students and teachers need to be confident in their ability to count on you to do what’s right and uphold social justice. This can cause tension as the interpretation of ‘what is right’ may vary in different contexts and belief systems.

Ontario College of Teachers. (2007). Ethical Standards.Retrieved from:

Framing Personal Moral Code

  • What factors have been dominant in framing your personal moral code?  
I believe my dominant factors framing my personal moral code come from my family. My mother was a stay at home mother and guided us through what was right or wrong with every opportunity being an opportunity to learn from. I grew up in a traditional nuclear Catholic family where this impacted my morals. I went to church regularly as a child so much of our moral code came from this weekly experiences.

I’ve learnt to trust my gut instinct when it comes to decision making. If something doesn’t feel right initially, then I don’t move forward until I’ve investigated this feeling further and why I initially was hesitant.

I believe that my schooling also had a great impact on my moral code as a child. Schools allow for opportunities to learn how to socialize, communicate and be a good moral citizen. My teachers have always had moral compasses that aligned with my parents further reinforcing the ideas I was brought up with at home.

My friends have also influenced my moral code however they have not always aligned. At times in my life, my friends have really tested my moral code and I had to decide whether to stick with my gut or waver. I now feel confident making decisions that are different than others if it means being true to myself, who I am and how I was raised even when they can be difficult choices at times. I have found that friendships that do not mostly align with my own moral code tend to not be strong, long lasting relationships.

  • What factors have been dominant in framing your professional moral code?
My personal moral code greatly shapes my professional one as I use this to establish what is right, wrong and just in my professional setting. My professional and personal moral codes are heavily overlapping.

Other educational professionals and leaders that I respect support my framing of professional moral code. As a developing leader, I don’t always know the right course of action. I often have reflective or planning conversations to support my thinking with leaders and gain insight from others' perspectives.

I try to presume positive intent through all interactions and see things from others’ perspectives. This helps me to gain clarity in my own understanding of the situation and become more flexible. I try to have a high level of consciousness and really think about my thinking as I reflect on my actions and how I could continue to improve my decision making and implementation as I move forward.

  • How have the codes above influenced your leadership practices?
I have a very strong sense of moral justice in the workplace and advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves. In one situation where a newly qualified teacher was not being supported by the leadership team and in general were not being kind towards her (partly due to political factors at play of her relationship with a member of staff higher in the school hierarchy), I felt the need to reach out and support her. I have been mentoring/ coaching her on classroom management and other classroom needs so she feels she has the support inside the class but also empowering her through conversations so that she feels heard and valued as a member of our school organisation.

Another situation I recall where I felt it was important to take a stand for the teacher staff was when I was in a meeting where the decision was being made to report online to parents at the end of every unit of inquiry (that’s six times a year plus conferences). I voiced my concern that staff had not been involved in the conversation and that we needed to ensure they were okay with the increase in workload and that they saw value in the process of more reporting. Due to this conversation, staff were consulted through a survey and further adaptations to the procedures and planning occurred to ensure staff were better supported through this change.

Discussion Post 2

  • Which concepts strike you as most helpful in developing a critical understanding of educational leadership?
Human resources frame focuses on the educational learning gained from each experience and opportunity. This is essential for having a growth mindset as a school and individual (Bolman & Deal, 2008).  
Structural Bureaucratic is helpful to provide a framework for staff members to confidently take action in accordancewitho school beliefs and values (Bolman & Deal, 2008).

Symbolic Frame is important as all actions of the school and school personnel should align with the school’s mission and vision. Focus on what’s important to the school will get to the core of what the school values as their approach to discipline (Bolman & Deal, 2008).

  • Which concepts assist you in describing your current approach to providing leadership in your professional setting?
I believe my current approach to leadership in my professional setting is human resources strategic frame. I believe every situation provides a learning opportunity - even the ones that don’t go according to plan. I also believe that the home-school connection should work together to support the student in both academic and pastoral care to ensure the student can grow and learn to the best of their ability in a way that works from them. I also agree with the idea that not only should students learn from their actions but staff should to. Using Cognitive Coaching for a  reflective conversation would also empower the teacher and assistant principal to reflect on their actions in a way that supports their own learning and how they need to move forward and modify their actions if necessary in the future. I prefer to be a facilitator in all situations rather than a dictator so that all parties feel heard and part of the solution.

  • Identify aspects of your current approach to providing leadership in your professional setting which could be strengthened? What might theses aspects be? What concepts have led to or contribute to this conclusion?
In my current setting, there is inconsistency in approaches to procedures even with policies in place. The Primary leadership team has gone too much towards ‘every situation is unique’ to the point that it is unclear to teachers what they should be doing to be successful in certain scenarios with behaviour. A stronger structural bureaucratic to ensure all staff members are adequately trained and understood is needed through clear and consistent communication by the leadership team (Bolman & Deal, 2008). When staff know the expected protocol, who to contact for support and what steps they should take, then within those protocols the individuals situations can be looked at for unique situations. It is important that the students also have a clear understanding of expectations and consequences for their actions.
There could also be an increase in human resources so frame so that there could be more reflection in how to move forward in similar events to continually ensure best practice and strategies are implemented into the school (Bolman & Deal, 2008).
All of the approaches should be aligned through symbolic frame to ensure that our actions as individuals and as a school collective meet our mission and vision at all times (Bolman & Deal, 2008).
Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (2008). Reframing Leadership. In Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice and Leadership (4th ed., pp. 341-372). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Case Study - Joey

  • Which leadership response is likely to be most effective in resolving immediate issues? Why?

When an incident occurs, a structural bureaucratic thought frame may be used. This frame focuses on roles and structure (Bolman & Deal, 2008). Structural leaders focus on implementation according to Bolman & Deal (2008, p. 360). This would be useful as Joey needs to know the expectations of the school in terms of behaviour and the behavioural consequences. The teacher needs to clearly know the steps of action towards dealing with the behaviour. Most schools have a behavioural policy that has been reviewed by teachers and students have been made aware of it. This provides transparency and increases the illusion of ‘fairness’ when discipline issues occur. The judgement of the teacher is removed and a protocol is followed that has been approved by the board.

I think a human resources frame in conjunction with the bureaucratic approach would help support Joey better. The teacher Mr. Harris seemed to escalate the situation as he engaged with Joey more, instead of lowering the emotions so that the milk could be dealt with.

  • Which leadership response is likely to be most effective in resolving longer term issues? Why?
A Human Resources approach to the situation would be a good choice of action as it supports both the staff, students and families. I appreciate that this is a team approach between the home and school of problem-solving and action-planning forward. This is an educational approach to the situation for the student and family. Human resources frame focuses on a sense of openness and caring where active listening and participation in the discussion is encouraged for a cohesive, supportive approach (Bolman & Deal, 2008, p. 360).

I also like that the principal would do some reflecting with the assistant principal and teacher to see what they learnt from the situation and how they could manage the situation differently if necessary. It is also a time for the principal to be reflective of the whole process as a school and see if there are key adjustments that can be made to support moving forward productively.

  • From your viewpoint, what utility (if any) is there in analysing educational leadership from the strategic and from the tactical level? Why?
Analysing educational leadership from a strategic and tactical level is helpful as a way to understand the different perspectives and where the situation may be lacking in capacity. With an understanding of the two levels, it helps bring concrete understanding to the leader as they begin to unpack a situation. In some situations, long term and immediate might require different approaches and a well-rounded understanding of all the frames will help the leader adapt to the situation at hand.

  • Is it realistic to expect that school leaders are or should be able to respond effectively to both immediate and longer term issues equally effectively? Why? If not, how might more effective responses be implemented. In your explanation – be sure to link your responses to leadership perspectives presented thus far in this subject?  
I believe that as a school leader it is important to be able to make the right decisions in the immediate present for the situation as it will greatly impact as a ripple effect long term issues. When a short-term issue has been mishandled, it can often lead to more complicated and escalated states later in the long-term issues. By developing a greater understanding of Bolman & Deal’s frames (2008), educational leaders can better read the situation from different perspectives and identify what the best course of action should be.

Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (2008). Reframing Leadership. In Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice and Leadership (4th ed., pp. 341-372). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Reframing Leadership

Note your observations in your blog about Bolman & Deal.
This has been probably the most valuable of all readings so far. Two separate educators from other international schools happened to bring up this reading and engage in conversation about the article at a conference I was at this past week suggesting that it is extremely relevant and widely referred to by educators.  
The article begins with an overview of leadership to distinguish Leadership from management where leaders are focusing their energies on the purpose (mission/vision/values of the organisation) and management is much more about getting things done from planning to effective implementation (Bolman & Deal, 2008, p. 343). They continue to suggest leadership is not a solo act but rather it requires followers who support the idea of the leader.
A high-interest area of the article was the idea of gender and leadership with the ceiling effect for women in leadership. Unfortunately, I feel I am becoming more aware of the differences as I try to navigate a move in countries and seek more leadership opportunities. It is interesting how my current organisation and prospective schools feel as I begin to transition. This is also an area of interest as a group of international educators met in Hong Kong last month at the 21st Century Learning Conference with a session to discuss our ideas of #lead our initiative of supporting, discussing and sharing ideas about gender equality in education and leadership. I encourage anyone interested to please reach out or find us on Twitter or join our Facebook group as we begin to develop this idea.
I don’t believe there is one best way to be a good leader as I have had a few inspirational leaders that have led, motivated and inspired staff in very different ways. I know that I find certain aspects of the way leaders lead better for my style of learning and following but this may not be ‘better’ for everyone. I do believe the idea of leadership being somewhat situational. While leaders are more likely to have one approach to rely on most of the time, a good leader should be able to adapt to the needs of the situation and those involved to best support all participants.
The idea of the 4 frames of leadership are as follows:
  1. Structural Frame (Bolman & Deal, 2008, p. 356)
This type of leadership frame focused heavily on implementation with an effective leader designing approach choices for planning for implementation whereas an ineffective leader would be much more bureaucratic in their approach. Unfortunately, the structural framework often does not allow for anticipating resistance to change and misreading cues.
  1. Human Resource Frame (Bolman & Deal, 2008, p. 361)
Human resources frame focuses on the leader as a facilitator for change, a change agent. They have a very open approach as they support, coach and empower their followers through strong communication. There is a clear sense of people being put first through a partnership of all working towards goals.
  1. Political Frame (Bolman & Deal, 2008, p. 364)
The political frame approach is much more about being real with clarity. These types of leaders think about the different stakeholders and what their power and interests are and work towards building valuable relationships. Power is used to persuade, negotiate and coerce.
  1. Symbolic Frame (Bolman & Deal, 2008, p.
The symbolic frame approaches leadership through leading by example and looking for symbols to highlight a need for change. There is a clear vision with the focus on reaching the values level of the subordinates as they approach concerns with a bidirectional approach to leadership.  
Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (2008). Reframing Leadership. In Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice and Leadership (4th ed., pp. 341-372). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.