Sunday, July 19, 2015

Learning and Leadership Inquiries

While our staff were formulating their teaching inquiries earlier this year I had a brief moment when I sat back and thought, "Well, I don't do any teaching so I wont need to do one of these. I'll be able to get on with my job." At the collaborative session we had organised for staff to meet with their critical friend to work on their "How Might I ....?" questions to frame their inquiry I plonked myself down by my critical friend, Cindy, who put me out of my misery straight away by claiming that the staff were my class and that I needed to inquire into how effective I was being in leading/teaching them
These are the 2 "How Might I?s" we settled on.
How might I consistently exhibit warm and demanding practices in my leadership of staff?
I have blogged about the Warm and Demanding concept several times and as every day passes in my leadership journey I am finding more and more comfort operating within this framework. I am continually asking myself if my responses to people or feedback to people whether I am displaying that I value them and their work and care for them while also showing that I expect all of us to work to a high level within our shared vision.
With the help of Cindy I have created a survey for staff exploring their views on how successful I am in achieving the Warm and Demanding balance and how effective that is for my leadership. The feedback will be immensely useful for me.
How might I maximise the opportunity of Mondays with Maurie to ensure our vision, values and principles are strengthened?
Every Monday morning I have a 15 minute slot at Kitchen Table (which I have called Mondays with Maurie). The main responsibility of this time is to confront particular issues of the time that we are dealing with and present my view of them through the lens of our vision, values and principles. Topics I have covered include:
  • personalised learning
  • strategic planning
  • student well-being and assessment
  • leading change with moral purpose and courage
  • managing behaviour in warm and demanding ways
  • homework guidelines
  • reporting
  • shared care of shared spaces
  • investing time and care in students
  • staff inter-personal issues
Just as teachers seek feedback from their students as to how effective their teaching has been, Cindy, once again, is supporting me to gain feedback from my 'class'. I am looking forward to the responses to the question on whether Mondays With Maurie has caused anyone to change the way they say, do or think.
Mondays With Maurie discussing Staff Well Being
Of course, my inquiry isn't the only one taking place. It was a privilege to have three staff share the progress with their own inquiries at the end of term. Liz was away but presented hers in hard copy while Andrea and Cindy gave a presentation to the staff.

Andrea presenting her inquiry

Authentic Learning with Cindy

And the neat thing is that our students are assisting us with our inquiries. One of our Student Council sub-committees (Hobsonville Habitat) is focusing on Learning and they have started exploring ways to gather student voice on learning and how best to provide that voice to staff.
Kane and Yasmin from the Learning Habitat leading discussions with Leaders of Learning
So, as Term 3 is about to start we're going to concentrate our main school inquiry on how might we design learning programmes and the structures that support them to support our learners from Years 9 - 11. Should be fun!