A week ago, after Doug Peterson’s suggestion, I came up with a brief survey to see if I could gain any more insight into actions that might damage a good school. No survey on Twitter is going to elicit much response. Even so, I have received 10 responses to my survey. The results are summarized here.
To be honest, I don’t know if we moved the discussion much beyond Greg Ashman’s original post. He is provocative and he comes up with excellent points to ponder on a regular basis. He has another post on education and non-conformity and I really want to read this and look for more writing prompts based on his thoughts!
There were a few suggestions that are certainly worth mentioning here from the survey. The one comment that dominates has to do with developing positive relations with staff, students and parents.
Build a community & relationships. If you don’t have positive relationships with your students, then nothing you do in class really matters. The same applies to admin. If you don’t take the time to build relationships with your staff, then it will be difficult to get staff buy in for positive changes.
I agree with this comment. If you do not engender positive relationships with the people you serve and work with, no infusion of educational technology or educational theory will make a wit of difference in your school.
In education, we all seem to love the newest fad or upcoming idea, whether it be social-emotional development, deeper learning, inquiry-based learning, project-based learning – the list goes on and on.
We often fail to see the enduring importance of developing and maintaining a respectful relationship with all the people in our buildings. It is almost as if developing a community of respect and caring is a second-tier idea that should be seen as a given and not worthy of discussion.
I don’t think this is the case and I do believe we need to reexamine how we treat the people we work with.
I have come to a number of schools where administrators didn’t seem to have a clue how to work in a constructive manner with their staff. This lack of ability needs to be addressed because failing to deal with an uncaring attitude can really damage staff members. I have often worked with gifted administrators who truly understood the importance of empowerment and I really think their contributions need to be recognized and celebrated.
I think one reason why the work of George Couros gets so much attention is that he really gets this. Throughout his book, The Innovator’s Mindset, George continually focusses on the importance of developing positive relationships with the people you work with. This is such an essential point it can’t be overemphasized. Everything needs to start with the promise that the administrator will honour and respect the people they work with. If this is the starting point, all manner of innovative and wonderful things can happen at a school.
As we enter another school year, let’s try to remain positive and keep in mind what truly makes for a wonderful school – a group of people who strive to respect, honour and empower every person in their building.