When I reflect back on my week and try to summarize how I could capture it in one word, I would choose discourse.
I had several opportunities this week for some deep learning with my colleagues. Part of this learning involved some rich discussions in which we felt comfortable publicly pushing each others’ thinking, wrestling with new ideas, and solidifying our understanding. As I look back over my journey as a school leader I am pleased and comfortable with how we as a system have grown in this area. Different opinions, testing ideas, contrary viewpoints and discussion are desired outcomes when engaging in our work in school improvement. It is through this discourse we grow and learn in our leadership.
An area that still requires attention is in the work we do with teachers.
How do we create an environment rooted in trust?
How do we ensure our staff feel comfortable in engaging in rich discussions with differing opinions and viewpoints?
What conditions do we expect that would allow teachers to speak openly and honestly with us and with their colleagues?
How do we find the balance between our vision of what students need with the view of our staff and what they see as important?
It is through these conversations that we gain a clearer picture of what both teachers and students need to move the learning forward.
As I work with staff on our journey for improvement I will be mindful of the conditions and opportunities I provide for discourse.
Do I welcome alternative viewpoints?
How do I respond when presented with an opinion that is not in line with mine?
How do I open myself up to new ideas or ways of approaching challenges?
How can I provide more opportunities for meaningful discourse?