Helping to find solutions daily for those in leadership, education and seeking to serve others. Providing motivation, encouragement and inspiration daily as we all seek to be the solution daily for all.
Being a leader in 2022 is the same, different, or we don’t know? Do the qualities and skills need to be the same? What are your thoughts? Do we need different leadership qualities? What is the most important quality for a leader? Why?
I believe a job title does not define leadership. Leadership is part of our lives at different stages and areas. We provide opportunities for children to explore, experience, and engage in leadership. We have many lists of characteristics and qualities created over many decades to identify excellent leaders. Has leadership changed? Do the qualities change? How can we help children grow to become great leaders?
We need your help! Tell us what qualities do great leaders need.
The purpose of education seems to have different meanings when you ask other groups. If we look through the political accountability lens, the goal is to increase standards and raise requirements for test scores to reflect passing levels. Students may see education as just going to school, following the rules, and turning in their assignments. Families look at it as a way for their children to build a solid foundation to prepare for college and careers.
As we look at Teaching and Learning, we will discover more of how our teachers build lessons daily to empower students for today, tomorrow, and all of the days following. Many aspects of teaching and learning support all of the needs of learners.
Students begin learning the first day they enter a classroom. Each day they are present, they must know and take the learning with them. Students need to understand and value the teaching they are doing. This foundational learning from today carries to the skill building of tomorrow. This promotes the growth required to progress.
Each lesson taught must build on what students already know and guide them to the next level of learning. The purpose of this teaching is to help students feel the growth with their knowledge. To understand the engagement and ability in their influence around them as they continue to embrace learning. Our teachers and education system provide a precise direction grade level by grade level.
It is not just about building blocks for a foundation and following a blueprint of construction as we connect the levels of learning. As teachers, we nourish our students ultimately. The whole child is provided with needs to promote enrichment, physical wellness, promoting a moral compass, and overall conditions for well-being.
I hope as I lead others, they will always gain the knowledge and practice: “Education is something we do with children, not to them. We need to nourish our children with the gift of enriched education, physical wellness, promotion of a moral compass, and always engage in ways to think in the abstract while finding better ways to do things. Our job in education is not to teach children how to think, but to provide opportunities to think, ask questions and consider solutions.”~Yoho
In order to lead others, you have to know what kind of leader you are. I have written about this before, but it is essential to review and reflect continually. You also need to know who you are leading!
Do you realize you are leading even when you think you are not? Everyone watches you in your dress, your speech, your body language, and your actions. It is true! You think you can run out to the store to grab some milk to finish making those pancakes when a parent and student spot you. You have old boots, jogging pants, an old sweatshirt, no makeup, and hair in a ponytail because you just got up. It never fails to happen!
As a coach, the first thing I ask you is to tell me what kind of leader you are. This is so we can build from this point. The next step is to talk about how you model the leader you are for others. Our final step will be to ask more reflective questions to dive deeper for more insight.
The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.”
A leader who leads others to success knows who they are as a leader. Understanding who you are as a leader provides the ability to have authentic tools to develop and inspire those you lead—enhancing the skill levels of others by guiding them with feedback, gentle reminders, and sometimes harsh realities.
We can gain a great deal from the quote I selected. The use of “his leadership” indicates the challenges females have had and, I believe, still do to a degree in the acceptance into leadership positions. If we add in race with gender, we can reveal even more statistics of challenges leaders face.
The uphill climb in leadership continues to separate good leaders from extraordinary leaders. There are many tools to utilize in the journey from “Good to Great” as Jim Collins writes about successful companies with extraordinary leadership.
Strategies for Leading Others
Establish a vision
Define a clear mission
Identify core values and beliefs
Ask questions instead of providing the answers
Engage in dialogue, conversations, debate, and not one-sided threats or coercion
Build on strengths and weaknesses
Informed by data- simplified, targeted, unbiased and cannot be ignored
Disciplined action steps with accountability and responsibility
Expectations are modeled, addressing issues promptly of unacceptable behaviors
Shared responsibility to build on momentum and to have individuals in the right places to engage in moving forward
Accepting and admitting when mistakes happen. This is part of the learning process.
Quick fixes and instant results are not a formula you will find for successful sustainable development. Just like diets, it is a change in “how” we live day-to-day. Habits and mindsets are part of the process of change when we look at leading others.
It takes patience, practice, precision, and purpose. Our passion drives our purpose, and the rest comes as we establish our goals. Make sure not to set the bar too high or too low. You want the goals to be attainable, and you want to have some short-term wins.
Leadership is not a title or position; it is an individual guiding others to a destination, to achieve a goal, or to accomplish the understanding of purpose in serving others. Let’s be the positive leaders to light the way to a brighter tomorrow.
In education, we measure, collect data, and report on students’ performance at grade levels. However, what matters in the big picture of learning? Accountability of the test scores reported on the school, district, and the teacher in the evaluation process plays an important role. Teachers are asked to set growth goals; schools do the same, and districts are told to keep up. So what matters to student achievement?
“In reality, it is through classroom assessment that attitudes, skills, knowledge, and thinking are fostered, nurtured, and accelerated-or stifled.”
For the last decades, the measurement of what mattered to the standardized test scores did not equal the results in the overall learning capacity. These measurements lead to increased test scores in areas but without increased learning. Students could memorize information but not apply skills. Students need to have a clear understanding of the content and the skills. The instruction and measurement must have a balance between content and skills.
Transferring knowledge to other areas requires students to have a high-level understanding of the skills and content to apply in various contexts. In measuring this level of expertise, it moves beyond multiple-choice and short answer questions. Students will need to demonstrate through problem-solving, analyzing data to conclude, matching learning to a rubric with other anchor papers, or testing a hypothesis.
The critical solution as a takeaway is this: The meaning, purpose, and values students see in what they are learning will play the most significant role in the retention of learning, motivation to use the teaching, and the interest to continue to learn.
I had written before about excellent teachers who were the best storytellers to hook students into learning and those who were so creative! I believe in students being in charge of their knowledge as they lead themselves in goal setting and explaining where they are regarding the learning standards journey. Student lead conferences are the very best as students take charge of presenting their progress.
As you hold conversations with your team on what matters keep these questions in mind:
What steps do you need to take to align learning measurement tools and practices in your classroom? School? District?
Making these changes would impact students how?
What measurements do you have in place? Do you utilize all of them, and how? Do some measure the same thing? Do you have too many, not enough, or not the correct measurements?
Keep in mind the title of the post. What Matters! Student Achievement is the purpose of education. Along with achievement are learning, discovering, asking, inquiry, and stretching minds. It is in finding the love of learning. In addition, it is the character, hopes, inspiration, relationships, understanding of acceptance, dealing with difficulty, mistakes, overcoming trauma, and so much more that matters. Life is complicated, and unfortunately, it starts young with all of its trials. Know your children, families, staff, and community. There are supports for what matters! If you need help finding them let me know. We will be the solution daily for what matters.
In education, we measure, collect data, and report on students’ performance at grade levels. However, what matters in the big picture of learning? Accountability of the test scores reported on the school, district, and the teacher in the evaluation process plays an important role. Teachers are asked to set growth goals; schools do the same, and districts are told to keep up.
As we look into what matters this week, we will look more into what I and others believe are the essential pieces of the following conditions “for” learning as we still measure what students learn “of” the learning process.
Teaching together in a school can be great or it can be a very challenging situation. Teacher collaboration occurs when members of a learning community work together to increase student learning and achievement. What happens when you have a few who do not want to go along with the team? There could be a few staff members who do not believe the children you serve can learn or improve.
If our ultimate destination as educators is student achievement, think of teacher collaboration as the journey. Collaboration is not a task to complete then move on; it’s an ever-changing and ongoing process. As a positive team member, it is your responsibility to help overcome those barriers in the journey to prevent student achievement from happening. Toxic cultures and climates impact student learning when teachers are not teaching together. We will look more into these issues this week.
In order to lead others, you have to know what kind of leader you are. I have written about this before, but I need to revisit it one more time. You also need to know who you are leading!
Do you realize you are leading even when you think you are not? Everyone watches you in your dress, your speech, your body language, and your actions. It is true! As a coach, the first thing I ask you is to tell me what kind of leader you are. This is so we can build from here. The next step is to talk about how you model the leader you are for others. We will discuss some tips this week to help with modeling leadership.
“To know the true reality of yourself, you must be aware not only of your conscious thoughts, but also of your unconscious prejudices, bias, and habits.“
Do we hold biases regarding our teaching? Is intelligence fixed or developed? What is your belief? Are we holding students back due to our biased actions? When we believe students cannot learn, we do not provide the strategies they need to raise intelligence.
Have you said or heard a co-worker say, “I know the best way to teach students.” What does this statement reveal? Is it confidence? Does it demonstrate a seasoned teacher? Does it reveal bias? Give some thought to the questions posed as we take a deeper look this week!
As a leader, I always liked to send different kinds of information out to staff. Funny jokes, thought-provoking puzzles, inspirational poems, and other things I found to share. I hope to provide a few to you during our days together that help, inspire, make you laugh, give hope and give thoughts to ponder. Our lives are filled with many challenges and opportunities, but I always hope to offer possible solutions.
The problem-How do we develop a sense of efficacy, confidence in accomplishing meaningful impact?
The solution-The identified keys to establishing educator success
Key 1: Collective Efficacy
Educators in a school need to believe they can positively affect student learning. Individual teachers can think their efforts are helping and are working with the children they are serving, but if they do not believe in their co-workers, the collective efforts will fail.
Collective teacher efficacy is “the perceptions of teachers in a school that the efforts of the faculty as a whole will have a positive effect on students” (Goddard, Hoy, & Woolfolk Hoy, 2000). Building on earlier studies of individual teacher efficacy, research on collective teacher efficacy further investigated the effects of teachers’ perceptions of their collective capacity to improve learning experiences and results for their students. Schools are under pressure to succeed, and educational research seeks what factors contribute to student success. We know by Professor John Hattie’s research that collective efficacy is ranked at 1.57 effect size. A school that believes it can make a positive impact is an essential element to the overall well-being of all.
Key 2: Educator Agency
Educators with a strong sense of professional (educator) agency in their lives believes they can achieve their goals. Teachers act purposefully and constructively to direct their professional growth and contribute to the development of their colleagues.
As we have had disruptions to school, added stress, and fatigue, we need to find ways to help our educators rebuild, refuel and reconnect. The focus to support “educator agency” looks at collaboration, feedback, and spotlighting success. We need “adult learning” during professional learning community time, feedback that fuels our teaching energy and celebrating the achievements.
Key 3: Sustainability
The conditions needed in the school setting for collective efficacy to existing according to researcher Jenni Donohoo (2017), are:
Including teachers in school-wide decision making
Finding consensus on collective goals
Understanding colleagues work
Finding alignment on educational philosophy
Effective systems of intervention
Teachers must feel empowered to take risks. They need to feel comfortable to grow in their practice and to understand not all classrooms have to look the same. The school environment is working towards common goals.
The key factor in the solution is to value staff and to let them be heard. Staff needs support and affirmation, but they need to see evidence in their work. We need to support them in effective practices and providing them with reliable evidence of the impact they are having.
We have continuous work to do to be the solution daily for those we serve.
The essential skill of a leader is to be an excellent communicator. Along with communication comes the duty of being factual, timely, informative, accurate, and trustworthy. Ken Blanchard, the leadership expert, launched an international study in 2016 to learn the critical skills leaders need. The study concluded with 43 percent indicating communication was the most crucial skill for effective leadership. Then 41 percent indicated poor communication skills as an ineffective leader’s most significant flaw.
How can you improve your communication? Where can you get updated information, work on building your professional skills and continue to build trust with staff? In my career, I found it with the Illinois Principal Association. This team had it all! They have a legal and legislative team with Brian Schwartz and Allison Malley. The wealth of knowledge and up-to-date information is fantastic. If you have any questions, they are a click away. Quality professional learning provided by Dr. Susan Homes, Arlin Peebles, Lynn Woodrum, and the best ladies who always help me, Pam Burdine and Beth Broyles, is the best. There are so many more to mention on this team who are ready to help, but these are directly involved in my journey. Where do you go?
As a leader, find what works for you! IPA worked for me, but it was not my only source. It does not matter how long you have been a leader; you are always learning. Ken Blanchard is one of those expert leaders I have listened to through my career. Use the link below for a must-read. Follow these steps as you begin to improve your leadership at any stage.
If you are in the teaching profession today, why? Why did you become a teacher? Most likely, you have a vision of individuals who inspired you to dive into this profession. It is the inspiration that often leads us into the lifelong career paths we find ourselves in today.
Jennifer Gonzalez at Cult of Pedagogy is one of the thought leaders I have followed for several years. I utilized her website/blogs as part of my new teacher mentoring program and, as a principal, sent her tips out in messages to staff.
The piece I am sharing today is comprehensive and follows my philosophy of being the solution daily. Often we identify problems, talk about them, stare at them, and they continue to thrive. Action steps involving change are the catalysts for actual solutions.
As a leader, I have never been offended by her posts. She is straightforward, has strong opinions, and you can judge for yourself if you want to view more. Please take a little time to read her post. It is powerful to me.
As a teacher who worked countless hours then as an administrator, clocking in, even more, I relate to the feeling of exhaustion! I did all my work before COVID, so I know I would not have survived. Blessings to all of our educators!
Education for many students wrapped up for the 20-21 school year. My parents pushed me to get an education as they were not able to receive it. What do you think? Is education the way to change the world?
What does this statement mean?
Do you agree with this statement? Is this how we are currently moving our educational system to meet the needs of our students?
Today’s posts are thoughts to ponder and to share. I believe children deserve the best we have to prepare for the future. They need opportunities to think critically, be innovative; opportunities to lead, and be exposed to high expectations with curriculum to meet these needs.
Education is an essential part of our society. Many changes have occurred and are proposed. It is important to know what is happening and voice your opinion. Be the solution today for the future of children everywhere.
Do we see debates over issues? A debate is a discussion of opposing sides of a specific topic, subject, or issue. An example would be a discussion of the pros and cons of reopening schools after Covid-19. I think I have seen some…. At least they resemble debates.
We most likely would see debates in our legislative branches of government. Have you witnessed debates? I have listened carefully since engaging in researching this topic. We are looking for specific elements in each person pleading their reasoning for their point.
I believe one of the critical skills and elements needed to help children succeed in the future is being able to have essential conversations to debate their points successfully.
The emphasis on teaching children how to protest is misdirected, in my opinion. A focus on how to convince others of the position they have by making points grounded in evidence of value is where the teaching should be focused. Critical thinking skills, knowledge, and strong communication skills will serve all of us in the future with positive outcomes.
Hugo Mercier, in the following TED-Ed clip, explains how an argument can be more convincing when it contains these elements:
A good knowledge of your audience you are speaking to.
What are the beliefs of the audience?
Who and what the audience trusts?
What are the values of the audience?
These elements seem like a simple recipe for success. Understanding the audience’s beliefs, trusted sources, and values of others are not always easy for us. As we face an issue, problem or challenge, we do not go first to what we have learned about our audience; instead, we go to our own.
A recipe for success in facing a problem in need of solutions is always to listen first. We hear with more than our ears. To meet issues with debate, reasoning, and convincing rebuttals, we need to embrace all views. Our minds must be open to debate to appreciate and comprehend points different than our set of facts. We have to accept others’ points made convincingly as right and concede when our points are proven wrong.
Every voice has the right to be heard. Actions speak louder than words is often a statement made in high-tempered issues. These actions in no way have ever meant to cause suffering on others, violence, or prevent others from the freedoms granted in this country. Actions moved by the words of others should be in having positive outcomes in the efforts of change. An example would be:
“Today, the sun begins to rise for a new day. It is a chance for each of us to show a new way. To bring to the surface more issues to praise. The life we live changes with every season. Unexpected issues, diseases, challenges, and problems come with no reason. It is our actions, words, and true messages we send out that conveys-The point we try to make.”~Brenda Yoho
Please watch the TED link shared. It is an excellent segment to view. You can find more features to consider as you lead changes and growth in your field. Today is a great day to learn, reflect and lead. Thank you for being part of the solution daily!