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Leading in a Generative AI Age

KellerArtificial Intelligence, Current Educational Issues 1 Comment

Be the flow. Education needs leadership for radical excellence. Traditionally, education leaders required a number of years at the chalk face in order to have the wisdom to do the job.  No longer.  We now need young movers and shakers who are ready for the challenge.  Education needs leadership for radical excellence.  

At the centre of it all is the student.  

Each student requires a comprehensive system of support so that they can achieve and demonstrate their true potential.  This requires clarity, High Expectations, Design Ability and Accountability.

1. Clarity

School leadership is all about the student.  We have to make sure that we have clarity on this topic.  Dr Kate Anderson Foley from the Education Policy and Practice Group, argues that clarity is vital.  

Unless the school is nimble – quick and light in movement or agile with the ability to think and comprehend quickly, they will be unable to respond effectively.  

Schools with strong traditions of how things are done around here, may be left behind.

2. High Expectations

The clarity has to include evidence of high expectations by the adults in the organisation.  We have become experts at blaming society, politicians, economies and circumstances for the drop in student performance, but the adults in the organisation are the very people who deliver the product.  Teachers have to be able to demonstrate and provide evidence of their value and their impact.  This will lead to us being able to assess our IMPACT by measuring the evidence presented.

3. Design

Once we have clarity and we know our expectations, we can design the school that will ignite the brain.  

The primary focus of the design is to make sure that the best staff are situated inside the classroom.  For some unknown reason, experience has taken educators out of the classroom and into managerial positions leaving huge voids.  

Again, the design demands nimble and responsive strategies than can be delivered with precision.  What worked well ten years ago, may no longer work.  Prof Dylan Wiliams takes it even one step further.  He believes that schools who want radical excellence shifts need to deconstruct systems that are working in order to make space for new innovations.  

Otherwise, teachers become over burdened and the impact is not effective. In simple terms, he is suggesting that we don’t add anything extra to the teacher’s glass until we intentionally siphon something out – and that “something” may have a great deal of value.  But teachers cannot be expected to ….. do it al!  

 “…we don’t add anything extra to the teacher’s glass until we intentionally siphon something out – and that “something” may have a great deal of value…”

Gavin Keller

The Design must include a fundamental change.  Instead of looking at the students to see who should receive intervention, schools need to look at the common area of weakness and design interventions to improve what the adults in the building are doing.  Data is used to inform, monitor and adjust.  Instead of using this data to grade a student, this data is used to identify the adult weaknesses in the system and address them rapidly in order to achieve the high expectations. These indicators have one purpose and that is to monitor growth.

4. Shared Accountability

Michael Fullan calls it coherence.  When teachers accept that we all have to swim in the same direction in order to achieve our high expectations, then they begin to rely on  each other and make use of their interdependencies to anchor them to the improvement process.

The adult competencies have to be strategically supported and delivered with precision by collaborative teams.  Gone are the days when we do it on our own.  “My way or the highway…” is no longer an option in this age.

The research is clear.  The most powerful way to improve outcomes for students is through the adults in the system.  The conditions have to be right for this to happen.  We cannot expect this to work if the adults in the building are  overburdened with administrative or non-teaching demands.

As the process unfolds, make sure that the student remains at the centre of everything that is designed.  Relentlessly high expectation is the norm and relentlessly excellent leaders are committed to getting the conditions right to achieve the outcomes.

“The five separate fingers are five independent units.  Close them and the FIST multiplies the strength.  This is organisation.”  – James Cash Penney

Now it is time for education leaders to disrupt the all consuming paper tiger, be relentless in our pursuit of excellence for every student and place our teachers in the right place to bring the right message with surgical precision while aligning every effort, practice and resource.  Dismantle fragmented systems and commit yourself and your team to improve the outcomes for all students. 

Be the flow!


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