In their revised national standards, Learning Forward (formerly known as the National Staff Development Council) has undergone an important shift in focus and message: from one of development to one of learning. The new standards focus on teachers as learners. Teachers are not to be treated as vehicles through which schools deliver programs and policies. This has been the focus of traditional professional development frameworks for way too long. The goal for administrators should be how to foster the learning spirit in every one of our teachers through a system of learning opportunities that cater to their individual needs.
Is it necessary for an administrator to become proficient in using a variety of technologies? Understand how the tools work? Become truly â€œtech-savvy?â€ The answer, increasingly, is yes. In addition to daily interactions with my personal learning network, two recent reads and a meaningful experience at ISTE 2011 have influenced my thinking about the role of the administrator in 21st century teaching and learning.
Administrators, what do you look for when you spend time in classrooms? What do you listen for? Teachers, how do you know authentic, real, meaningful, passion-filled learning is happening before your eyes? How often do we take the time to ask children what learning means to them?
It was not until my transition into administration that I first began to appreciate the power of pull. Much of this personal transformation was born out of necessity. No amount of push was going to help me flourish as an effective educational leader. Something, someone, somewhere, had to be experiencing the same conflicts, using the same (or better) resources, and could lend a supportive, critical perspective to my daily work with teachers, students, and families. I needed to access that collective wisdom. I needed to attract others who could add to my learning in order to achieve.