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Teacher Leadership Academy, July 29-31, 2013

The Teacher Leadership Academy with Joellen Killion of Learning Forward was one of the most practical, useful professional development activities I've attended in a long time.  In exploring what teacher leadership might look like, we learned about teacher leadership roles, decision making, team building, and communication.

The instructor, Joellen, was incredibly skilled in her craft.  It would be so amazing to spend a couple of weeks shadowing her to analyze her interactions, her choice of words, and her perspectives.  I appreciated the way she validated individuals and was able to reframe statements and situations to productively move along the conversation and extract deeper thoughts and information from participants.

In addition to the skills and knowledge we worked on, it was a wonderful opportunity to connect up with educators at KS.  It was so refreshing to be around others who are passionate about education.  I loved experiencing their creativity through activities, listening to their perspectives, and feeling their genuine dedication to their students.

Here are some of my highlights from the three-day workshop:

Clock Partners

I liked this way of setting up partner work for the duration of the workshop.  It took about 5 minutes initially to set up, but from then on she could say...ok everyone go to your 10 o'clock partner, and people can quickly move instead of taking time to establish new partners every time.  It was nice way to meet a variety of people.

I would like to try something like this for future group activities, such as the CBOCE orientation.

Positive Deviants

Joellen told us about a process of finding "positive deviants" that Save the Children used in Vietnam. They went into communities and saw that there were some children who were healthy in communities where many children were sick.  So, they sought out to find what it was that these "positive deviants" were doing differently.  They asked mothers in these communities to go out and observe, research, and collect data.  What were these families doing that was different?  "This family has a car" - Probably not the answer and not something they could scale up anyway.  They discovered things and synthesized information, and the strategies that they decided were scalable were: washing hands before eating and adult-supervised eating to make sure kids were really eating.  

I think we naturally look for the positive deviants.  When Kassia had 19/20 complete for her Ke Kumu course, we asked, "What did you do differently this time?"  But I think we could do a better job following up and systematically trying to find what it is that made a difference, is it replicable, and can we scale it up?

Fears then Hopes
When taking on something new, such as a leadership position, people often have fears, and it is important for us to recognize and address those fears.  Joellen posited addressing fears THEN hopes.  She asked us, "What is the value of acknowledging fears first?"  My thought is, if we can address the fears, then people will feel more comfortable and more open to get to the things needed to make the hopes come true.   :)

  • Your heart and your essence combined with skills
  • Positive presuppositions - Assume that the person is competent and is doing what they're supposed to, open ended, subject is the task 
         - Example of not so great question: Did you do your Success Factors goals?
         - Example of positive presupposition: What are some of the Success Factors goals you developed for this year?
  • Complaints = What people care about; turn it into a positive opportunity!


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