We spend a lot of time (too much?) talking about the learning for students in the 21st Century and how much of a shift in thinking that this requires for our teachers. We forget however, that it also requires a shift in thinking for the leaders who are the decision-makers, the supervisors, the managers of our schools and districts. As I am now in one of those roles, and who is responsible for ensuring that the paradigm shift is happening for our students, I am examining what my thinking-shift needs to be.
We expect students to become critical thinkers, creative innovators, collaborators, communicators, problem solvers – is that what I enable for our teachers and for myself? I am reading Jim Collins’ recent book, Great by Choice and he reminds us to forget about predicting the future, but actually creating it. And that change should not be pushed forward in big spurts but in relentless incremental, achievable targets. Changing the way we do things in our schools (aka 19th Century learning) will take more time than leaders prefer. Creating the future requires “empirical creativity” (ensuring we use research, experiment for ourselves, and innovate), “productive paranoia” (maintaining hypervigilance in good times and bad) and “fanatic discipline” (consistency of action despite pressure to move off the action).
Where are we as leaders in demonstrating Collins’ characteristics?