Like teachers, school leaders today must move beyond sit-and-get PD and take charge of their own professional growth. Elementary principal and Connected Principals contributor Lyn Hilt says Kristen Swanson’s new book, Professional Learning in the Digital Age, “provides practical, easy-to-follow steps towards becoming an effective user-generated learner.”
With every turn of the page or scroll through a Reader feed, someone, somewhere, is giving advice on what education leaders ought to be. The articles, blog posts, and books on leadership will keep on coming, because the role of leadership is ever-evolving and increasingly complex with each passing day. (And with each passing mandate.) I enjoy reading the work of leaders in fields outside of education, too. While not every lesson can be translated to the work we do with students, many can, and we should consider them.
What can we do, as administrators, to promote teacher learning on a daily basis? How can we structure our organizations to allow for collaboration and communication among peers, embed opportunities for both face-to-face and online learning, help our teachers stay informed and familiar with current research and practices (in content, pedagogy, and technology), model for them that we ourselves are growing professionally, and help the organization as a whole realize that complacency must be eradicated?
While the author provided insights and practical ways to get started in each of the key components of this text, I found it, on the whole, to be quite lacking in encouraging school leaders to use technology to enhance teaching and learning in their organizations. It caused me to consider “instead of that/try this” ideas, which I’ve summarized here.
Sometimes students, parents, teachers, and administrators are comfortable living in the shells of their own existence. They’re satisfied with the status quo, choose to interact with those from the same religious backgrounds, cultural heritage and political affiliations. Sometimes they consider the alternative views of others to be wrong, not just different. From an educational perspective, this is downright dangerous. We have a responsibility to ensure that our students develop cultural awareness and engage in acts of citizenship, not only within our schools and surrounding areas, but as active members of the global community.