Posted by: kstridegoudie | April 24, 2012

REFLECTIONS … SCHOOLS AS … PROFESSIONAL LEARNING ORGANIZATIONS

It is a journey for educators as we move away from the teacher as the ‘giver of information’ to a ‘facilitator of learning’.  It requires a paradigm shift for students, teachers and parents. It is placing an emphasis on the student’s responsibility and accountability for their own learning. It is critical as we look toward the future and the competencies of an educated Albertan.  This shift … does require some openness to professional learning opportunities for us as educators.

One aspect of Professional Learning Organizations that I absolutely LOVE is that it sets the stage for all of us to be learners.  This acknowledges that teachers are not the “lone expert” in the room, but rather can be a learner alongside students and colleagues.

One of my roles as the principal is to foster ongoing, purposeful dialogue and collaboration amongst teachers.  Opportunities for learning and collaborating have been provided during Staff PD Days and other collaborative days throughout the year. Staff members have openly expressed their appreciation for the time and learning opportunity.

One of the challenges with collaboration is … ensuring that we have cultivated a culture of trust where mistakes are encouraged and risks are applauded as part of the journey. W.E. Deming says, “Mistakes can be accepted or even encouraged, provided that they are a means of improvement”. Improvement — another marker along the pathway of continuous quality improvements.

A question as we move forward is … how do we sustain the learning and collaboration? How do we go from good to great? Michael Fullan in “Leadership and Sustainability” states, “Sustainability by our definition requires continuous improvement, adaptation, and collective problem solving in the face of complex changes that keep arising.” (p.18)  Fullan has succinctly described the challenge facing educators of the 21 Century. Once again … I am reminded … learning is a journey NOT a destination!

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