Leadership · Learning

It’s about learning and it’s about time!

I began this blog because I realised that I have something to say in the world of education.

‘It’s about learning and it’s about time’

This is not new thinking. But it gets forgotten in the business of every day school life.  Educators have to filter through many factors that compete for their immediate and long term attention.  So it’s important to have a dedicated voice in a school who keeps asking the questions about learning. Who keeps bringing the thinking back to what is happening to improve learning, keeping the development of learning high on the agenda as we get swamped by the tsunami of every day school business.

Several years ago I attended a session called ‘the Learning Focussed School’, facilitated by experienced international school principal Kevin Bartlett.  Kevin asked us to summarise the mission of our schools in the mode of the ‘elevator conversation’ . Surprisingly, many people found this difficult.  Kevin told us the mission of his school, the International School of Brussels (ISB) is:

No need to summarise that!

I started to think about why schools have such wordy and convoluted mission statements that we cannot remember. And what schools are really about.  Surely the mission of every school is to improve the learning of every student?  Well let’s expand that to include every teacher, every parent and everyone on the support staff. As ISB so succintly puts it – everyone included in learning.

Kevin invited us to consider the focus structure of his school, where every meeting is structured around learning principles, where every decision is considered through the lens of learning with a filter of ‘Will this improve learning?’

KISS
imaged sourced from dc-digital.net

Educational Leaders need to get back to basics and keep the focus on learning.

It’s about learning, and it’s about time….

Here are my humble thoughts on how to keep the focus on learning

  1. Clearly define what learning means in your organisation and share it with all stakeholders
  2. Identify, unpack and apply clear learning principles
  3. Use a filter or protocol for decision making to keep the focus on learning
  4. Streamline a professional development process that emphasises improving learning
  5. Use a collaborative planning process that allows teachers to develop and reflect on learning engagements
  6. Use research proven strategies, learn from the experts
  7. Protect classroom instruction time
  8. Ensure that students and parents are involved in the learning process

There is more of course, and people far wiser and more studied than me expand on this all over the web.  Perhaps each of these thoughts will form a future blog post of it’s own.

For now, I’m just setting the tone and keeping it simple:

‘It’s about learning and it’s about time’

Tune into my next post to find out what happens when an administrator of 11 years returns to the classroom full time…

Thanks for reading

Kirsten

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