Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Interactive Communities of Practice

Growth is the only evidence of life.  ~John Henry Newman

The key to transforming schools begins with the principal.  The principal is the main change agent or blocker in the field of education.  Michael Fullan writes that "Leadership for Change" requires a 'bias for action, a sense of urgency' and a mix of 'pressure and support'.  This post explores these facets through the lens of an educational leader.

A Bias for Action
It is very difficult to transform a school without a bias for action. Leaders with a bias for action: 
  • See a need and fill it
  • Anticipate a problem and head it off before it stops progress 
  • Are always relentlessly pursuing a better way to do their work
A Sense of Urgency
This is the facet that is the most easily confused because many feel like they have a sense of urgency.  Urgency has nothing to do with running around like crazy.  A true sense of urgency is about a focused, driven plan.  It is about treating every day as if it was the only one that mattered.  

I read recently a line that really sums up this thought as it applies to education.  No one has the right to waste a minute of a child's life.  What would schools be like if we all embodied this concept?

A Mix of Pressure and Support
Change typically occurs when people either see the light or feel the heat.  A combination of pressure and support is critical for improvement efforts.  People need to stretched and developed to meet the needs and challenges of successfully educating all students.    

These three factors are critical in developing interactive communities of innovation.  These communities will propel schools forward in preparing all students to be college, career, and citizen ready.  

And it all starts with a leader....

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