“Schools kill creativity.”
“Innovation is crucial in education.”
“We are preparing students for jobs that don’t currently exist.”
“Education needs disruption.”
These are all statements that you might have heard on a Ted Talk, at a conference keynote, or on any professional learning day. They push thinking, make people feel uncomfortable, and are tailored towards systems thinking. A powerful vision for education is needed in our world today.
Yet what comes after these statements? Many school districts around the world are rushing to revamp outdated mission and vision statements to reflect these changes in society, yet if nothing changes in student learning, these statements becomes only new words followed by previous actions.
“A vision without execution is an hallucination.” Jeffrey E. Garten
To be an effective leader, it is necessary to be able to take these statements and give concrete examples of possibilities. “Systems thinking” is useless if it is not turned into action. Robert Sutton, author of “Good Boss, Bad Boss”, talked about the importance of helping move people along a continuum to a larger vision. Small steps are necessary to help people build success along the way, which leads to building confidence and competence. I wrote and revisit a post that I shared a couple of years ago on “8 Things To Look for in Today’s Classroom“, because I wanted to go deeper into a vision for the classroom today. How could I be an effective leader at the organizational level if I didn’t understand the opportunities for students today?
One of the benefits of mobile technologies is that no leader is tethered to any room at any time. Spending time in classrooms, seeing great practice in action, and being both a part of the teaching and learning, is not something that is only recommended, but is necessary to move organizations forward. Model in what you seek.
Systems thinking is important. but if you aren’t able to go deeper into a vision and articulate what it could look like for the learners we serve, all of those statements become only tweetable moments as opposed to actionable items.